Finland Urges EU to Strengthen Oil Spill Response in the Baltic


Countries bordering the Baltic Sea are increasing their efforts to address Russia’s aging tanker fleet, known as the dark fleet, that passes through the region. Finland has called on the European Union to acquire a dedicated vessel for handling oil spills in the northern Baltic region.

The Finnish Transport and Communications Ministry highlighted the risk of oil spills from older, poorly equipped ships with weaker insurance, particularly during winter when these vessels are not suitable for icy conditions. They proposed that the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) should acquire an additional oil spill response vessel to cover the northern Baltic areas, including the Gulf of Finland.

Concerns about the environmental impact of moving Russian oil through Europe have escalated, leading to discussions within the EU about imposing further sanctions on Russia’s shadow fleet. Littoral states, led by Sweden, have been advocating for stricter measures against the fleet to prevent potential disasters.

In a separate development, the Greek navy has restricted ship-to-ship transfers in an area off the coast of Laconia, disrupting the operations of Russian-linked tankers. As a result, Russian oil movers have shifted their activities to a new location in the Mediterranean near Nador, Morocco.

The grey tanker fleet, monitored by brokers BRS, has seen a 17% increase in size this year, raising concerns about the growing capacity of these vessels. With more large ships categorized as grey tankers, the total tanker tonnage has reached a significant level, posing challenges for maritime safety.


Sam Chambers started his career with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, eventually becoming the editor of Maritime Asia magazine and the East Asia Editor for Lloyd’s List. Over the years, he has contributed to various publications, including The Economist, The New York Times, and The Sunday Times. Chambers has extensive experience in maritime journalism, covering a wide range of topics related to the shipping industry.