(Reuters) — Turkey emerged as a critical stumbling block to a complex international plan to deprive Russia of wartime oil revenues as the number of tankers waiting to leave the Black Sea through the Turkish straits continued to rise on Friday.
Ankara has declined to scrap a new insurance inspection rule it implemented at the start of the month despite days of pressure from Western officials frustrated by the policy.
A total of 28 oil tankers are queuing to leave the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, Tribeca’s shipping agency said on Friday.
Rich G7 nations, the EU and Australia agreed to bar shipping service providers, such as insurance companies, from helping export Russian oil unless it is sold at an enforced low price, or cap, aimed at depriving Moscow of war revenues.
Turkey̵7;s maritime authority said it would continue to keep oil tankers out of its waters that do not have appropriate insurance certificates.
Western insurers said they cannot provide the documents Turkey is demanding because it could subject them to sanctions if it were found that the oil cargoes they cover were sold at prices exceeding the cap.
The Turkish authority said that in the event of an accident involving a ship violating the sanctions, it was possible that the damage would not be covered by an international oil spill fund.
“(It) is out of the question for us to take the risk that the insurance company will not fulfill its compensation responsibility,” it said, adding that Turkey was continuing talks with other countries and insurance companies.
It added that the vast majority of vessels waiting near the strait were EU vessels, with much of the oil destined for EU ports – a factor that frustrated Ankara’s Western allies.
The backlog creates growing concern in the oil and tanker markets. Millions of barrels of oil per day move south from Russian ports through Turkey’s Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits into the Mediterranean.