G7 Puts Liability for Russian Oil Price Cap on Traders, Not Shipowners

Marine insurers, bankers and tanker owners may not be liable if their customers violate the new G7 price cap on Russian oil sales, according to the U.S. Treasury

The ruling addresses some of the shipping industry's main concerns about the potential effects of the ban.

On Sept. 2, the G7 finance ministers proposed "a comprehensive prohibition of services which enable maritime transportation of Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products globally" - except for oil purchased below a certain price

The idea is a form of a "buyer's OPEC": unless the oil is sold below an artificial price threshold, it can't be insured or moved without risking sanctions.

The Treasury's guidance, issued Friday, sets up three tiers of service providers for seaborne Russian oil transport: refiners and oil brokers with direct access to price data (Tier I);

bankers and shipowners with occasional access to price data (Tier II); and those who have no access to price data in the normal course of business, like insurers and P&I clubs (Tier III).

OFAC does expect to see attempts at sanctions evasion, and it cautioned involved parties to watch for signs of deceptive practices, such as AIS manipulation or reluctance to provide pricing data.

The office said that it intends to harmonize its regulatory approach with the other members of the G7, indicating that the same guidance will be applied broadly.

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