* Vessel sailed in late March, cargo worth around $10 mln
* Russia's Rosneft denies supplying gasoil to vessel
(Updates with second comment from Rosneft)
By Jessica Donati
LONDON, April 9 A fresh delivery of Russian
gasoil has reached a government-controlled port in Syria this
month, according to shipping sources and tracking data, adding
to a string of cargoes that have flowed into the war-ravaged
country this year.
Delivering refined oil products to Syria is not explicitly
prohibited by sanctions, but the European Union has blacklisted
the state's oil trading and distribution firms.
Since Syria announced it had set up new private firms to
import oil products at the start of the year, trade has boomed.
Around 20 shipments of gasoil and heating fuel reached the
state-controlled port Banias last month.
Shippers said the latest shipment was supplied to third
parties by top Russian oil producer Rosneft, but the
oil giant refuted this.
Rosneft initially responded that it sold products for
loading at its ports and was not responsible for their final
"We are selling oil products from Tuapse on a FOB
(free-on-board) basis, and therefore Rosneft has responsibility
for the cargo only until it is loaded into a tanker," a Rosneft
"After that, it is the buyer who becomes responsible for the
cargo including its destination."
Later Rosneft denied that it had supplied the cargo.
"These are oil products from other companies with which we
have agreements on loading," the spokeswoman said, refusing to
disclose the names of the companies.
The Kemal Ka loaded 11,500 tonnes of gasoil at the Russian
port of Tuapse at the end of March and delivered the cargo to
Banias in the first week of April, shipping sources said and
tracking data showed.
At current prices, the cargo would have been worth around
$10 million, but market sources said trade with Syria is more
lucrative because few firms are willing to do business with
President Bashar Al-Assad's increasingly isolated state.
Most deliveries to Syria arrive aboard Greek or
Italian-managed vessels from Lebanon, Turkey or the Black Sea.
One shipper estimated the freight rate for deliveries from
the Black Sea to Syria to be around 205 percent of the
worldscale rate set as a reference for deliveries along that
The Kemal Ka is listed as part of a fleet owned by Akbaolu
Shipping Group in Istanbul, according to the firm's website.
"Unfortunately we are not able to give you any information
on the subject voyage," the chartering manager wrote in an
emailed response to queries, declining to identify the firm or
firms chartering the vessel.
The rise in deliveries has ended months of isolation that
have damaged the Syrian economy but has drawn criticism by
observers, who say the fuel could be used to fuel army vehicles.
The European Union has said that enforcing sanctions is the
responsibility of member states but that it would remain
vigilant on effective implementation of measures.
(additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; editing
by Jane Baird)