Three Japanese insurance companies will stop insuring ships against war damage in all Russian waters on 1 January 2023.

The CFTS portal reported this, citing the Nikkei Asia publication.

The companies - Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, Sompo Japan Insurance, and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance - began informing shipowners of their decision on 23 December.

According to the publication, overseas reinsurance companies’ refusal to take on Russia-related risks prompted this move.

The Japanese insurers' decision means that insurance coverage for war damage will not be provided anywhere in Russian waters: not only in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea but also in the Far East and the entire Northern Sea Route.

Currently, shipowners have to sign up for extra war-damage insurance before sailing through Ukrainian and Russian waters. Starting next year, shipowners will no longer have that option from the three Japanese insurers.

Experts believe that Japanese imports of liquefied natural gas from Russia's Sakhalin-2 project and elsewhere could be affected by the inability to secure coverage.

As the CFTS portal reported earlier, Turkey closed the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits to vessels carrying crude oil without proof of insurance on 1 December. The new proof-of-insurance rule came into force a few days before European sanctions were imposed on Russian crude oil. After the imposition of the sanctions, Russian crude-oil producers lost the opportunity to secure insurance for vessels transporting crude oil at prices higher than the imposed “price cap.”