According to an energy expert, the oil price cap imposed on Russia by the EU increases the risk of an environmental disaster at sea.

“The risk of a tanker accident is greater than it has been in a long time,” Adnan Vatansever, head of the Russia Institute at London’s King’s College, told Der Spiegel (Tuesday). The reason for this is that Russia bought a “shadow fleet” of at least 100 used tankers to circumnavigate the restrictions imposed by the West.

According to Vatansever, most of these ships are “quite old”. He does not know “the condition, for example, of the ships from Iran and Venezuela – countries whose economy has been suffering from Western sanctions for years”.

A regulation has been in force since Monday that is intended to force Russia to sell oil to customers in other countries for a maximum of 60 dollars per barrel (159 liters). The price of around 57 euros will then be up to 9 euros below the recent market price for Russian crude oil.

Since Monday, crude oil from Russia can only be imported into the EU in exceptional cases. The import restriction is based on a sanctions regulation passed by the 27 member states in June because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

Vatansever doubts that Moscow will manage without Western ships. “The Shadow Fleet” is not big enough. According to insiders, the Russian oil industry would need about 240 tankers to handle its exports ahead of crude oil and products like gasoline and diesel.