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Maritime Global Trade Roundup – February 16, 2024 

In the Spotlight

What’s inside?

    The quick highlights and analysis you need from the week in maritime global trade, powered by Maritime AI™ insights. 

    The LNG Pause 

    The Biden-Harris Administration announced a temporary pause on pending approvals of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to non-free trade agreement (FTA) countries in the name of climate preservation.

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    Windward’s Maritime AI™ platform shows U.S. exports during the past year to FTA countries

    Organizations need to put technology, experts, and processes in place. Old-school data won’t empower businesses to conduct sophisticated data queries and build the business processes they require to adapt to a constantly changing environment, and keep growing in a competitive market.

    59 Suspicious Vessels You Don’t Know About 

    A Russian tanker u-turned after being subjected to U.S. sanctions. But how many vessels are doing the same trade?

    The crude oil tanker NS Leader departed the port of Primorsk on October 8, after loading crude oil in the port, and then sailed through the English Canal and the Mediterranean, to the Red Sea. The vessel arrived at Jamnagar, Sikka, India, where it offloaded cargo and sailed back to Russia. It repeated this trade in January after it reflagged to Gabon. 

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    There is nothing theoretically wrong with exporting to India. The price cap breach is reported to have occurred in November (it’s unclear exactly where). 

    Windward’s newly launched Sequence Search capability shows that 60(!) crude oil tankers over 200,000 tons have performed the same trade between October 1, 2023-February 11, 2024

    Is your organization aware of the other 59 vessels? Will they be next to be sanctioned by the U.S.?

    The Red Sea Crisis is Increasing Russian Oil Product Trade in the Mediterranean?

    Bloomberg revealed that Libyan businessmen were importing approximately $5B of oil products from Russia and exporting them to Europe, via a series of forged documents and deceptive shipping practices (DSPs).

    The Queen Majeda (IMO: 9117806) is an oil product tanker. The vessel arrived at the Benghazi port in April 2022 and engaged in dark activity in Libya, after which it returned to port. The vessel repeated the pattern and then sailed to Italy and Albania, engaged in more dark activity in the Mediterranean, and sailed back to Libya. In September, it arrived in Albania and the crew was arrested for fuel smuggling.

    Windward’s Maritime AI™ platform reverse-engineered this incident to find that 15 vessels engaged in this same trade pattern during the past year.

    Bigger picture: our insights show that there was a 138%(!) increase in ship-to-ship (STS) transfers in the Mediterranean (classified as commodity STS) by oil product tankers arriving from Libya between March 2023 and January 2024. There was also a 213% increase in commodity STS transfers in the Mediterranean by tankers arriving from Russia.

    It is possible that due to the ongoing Red Sea crisis, the demand for oil products increased, but it is difficult to get oil from sources in the Arabian Gulf and East Asia. We should all monitor a potential increase in Russian oil product trade in the Mediterranean…

    1,000% Growth in Transfers Following Spoofing?! 

    Windward broke the news about the scale of location (GNSS) manipulation (aka “spoofing”) on the front page of the The New York Times. The phenomenon has majorly escalated since then. 

    We’ve seen tankers increase location manipulation by almost 50%(!) in the past year. 

    The majority of location manipulations were conducted in the Arabian Gulf Area – a 74% increase in manipulations in the Arabian Gulf since the beginning of 2024, while it decreased in other regions.

    An alarming trend: Windward observes significant increases in cargo being transferred at sea after the spoofing between April 2023 and January 2024. Over 1,000% growth(!) in transfers in Southeast Asia, and 400% growth(!) in the Mediterranean. Most of the volume was transferred in Southeast Asia.

    Have you seen more of these spoofing events? How much do you think it impacts your business decisions and your understanding of trade flows?

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