NewsStuck at sea: 14 Russian tankers and 10 million barrels of oil stranded off South Korea due to U.S. sanctions

Stuck at sea: 14 Russian tankers and 10 million barrels of oil stranded off South Korea due to U.S. sanctions

14 Russian tankers got stuck off the coast of South Korea (illustrative photo)
14 Russian tankers got stuck off the coast of South Korea (illustrative photo)
Images source: © Getty Images | Contributor

2:17 PM EST, January 27, 2024

Reuters reports that this amount of crude oil equates to over a month's production (precisely 45 days) from the Sakhalin-1 project. This project was Exxon Mobil's flagship venture in Russia until it withdrew from the Russian market following the outbreak of war in Ukraine. This withdrawal greatly affected the project, which still hasn't regained its pre-invasion production levels.

Russia's unwanted oil

Reuters highlights the difficulty of selling oil as one of Russia's significant challenges. However, the U.S. has firmly stated that while its sanctions aim to curb Vladimir Putin's funding abilities and war machinery, they do not intend to disrupt the influx of Russian energy resources into the global market.

In 2023, the U.S. imposed restrictions on several vessels and firms involved in oil transportation. Consequently, 14 tankers filled with crude oil are stranded at the port of Yosu in South Korea, according to data from the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), Kpler, and oil traders.

The grounded ships include 11 Aframax vessels and three large tankers.

India's delayed oil shipment from Russia

Due to payment complications, shipments for the Indian Oil Corp. have been postponed. As a result, India's largest refinery is purchasing more significant volumes of crude oil from the Middle East.

According to, India was primarily attracted to Russian oil because of its affordability. The price of the Russian variant was quickly decreasing and Russia had offered a special price to export the commodity.

A further issue is the preferred currency for payment. India wishes to pay for the oil in rupees, but Russia insists on payment in rubles. This payment standoff means India doesn't anticipate receiving any Russian oil shipments shortly.

There's been no comment from IOC or Rosneft in response to Reuters' enquiries.

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