European sanctions against Russian oil, which are expected to be decided on Dec. 5, will only drive up prices, hurting the end consumer, said Nikos Vernikos, a shipowner and president of the International Chamber of Commerce.
In an interview with the French newspaper Liberation, as noted in an article entitled “Russian oil:
Greek shipowners, in whose hands half of the planet’s tankers do not give a damn about the boycott”, Nikos Vernikos assures: “Transportation costs, which are already skyrocketing, will grow even faster , but the embargo on the transportation of Russian oil by sea will have a positive effect on shipowners, because we will become richer.”
Nikos Vernikos stressed that Greece will comply with “the new conditions that will come into force on December 5”, warning, however, that “boycotts have the effect of raising the price of goods imported or exported from the embargoed country.” Therefore, the European decision on sanctions will bring a net benefit only to “sea carriers that go where there is work”.
In the same message, a shipping entrepreneur who spoke on condition of anonymity said that “The Greek shipping community is the strongest in the world” and “without it nothing can be done and the Greeks will definitely find a way around them.”
He adds that after the introduction EU embargo on Russian oil “oil will be transported by other shipowners, except for the Greeks, but …”, – noting that black gold will be sent to countries not subject to the embargo.
From December 5, if non-Greek shipowners charter ships with Russian oil, then “others will do it, but there will be fewer offers of transport, and prices will rise,” the same source concludes.
The report of the French newspaper notes that the Greek fleet is the most powerful in the world, while “business has rules, but no borders” …
The authors of the publication remind that Greek shipowners, whose ships mainly sail under the flag of Malta or the Republic of Cyprus, dominate the maritime market, and their fleet consists mainly of tankers and bulk carriers. They have 21% of the world’s shipping tonnage and 40% of the world’s oil transportation tonnage, and trade cooperation with Russia has existed since the 19th century.
Apparently realizing that the Greeks and Maltese will look for ways to circumvent sanctions, the European Commission proposes to introduce criminal liability for circumventing sanctions against Russia. It is unclear, however, how this will relate to the laws of the EU countries, but Greece, Malta and Cyprus, where ship owners make up a powerful lobby, will clearly be happy with such measures and will most likely be against it.