The Tarragona Maritime Captaincy (Spain) has blocked the Maersk Magellan oil tanker from unloading its cargo of diesel in the port of Tarragona because it is suspected of carrying diesel fuel of Russian origin, according to Spain's Federal Ministry of Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agenda.

The CFTS portal reported this, citing The Maritime Executive publication.

According to the ministry, the head of the port for Tarragona blocked the Maersk Magellan from unloading its cargo of diesel fuel because the fuel was previously carried by the Cameroonian-flagged Nobel oil tanker, which was a Russian-flagged tanker until 1 July 2022.

"The measure was taken in accordance with European regulations, which ban vessels registered under the Russian flag after 16 April 2022 and Russian vessels that switched to another flag after 24 February 2022 from entering the European Union," the ministry said.

The Maersk Magellan reportedly conducted a ship-to-ship diesel transfer operation from the Elephant oil tanker in the Mediterranean Sea. Upon inspection, the Spanish authorities determined that the cargo from the Elephant tanker originally came from the Nobel tanker.

This is not the first time that Spain is prohibiting ships with cargo from Russian-flagged ships from unloading in its ports. In April 2022, the Barcelona maritime authorities blocked the Maltese-flagged Black Star vessel from entering a port because it had previously conducted a ship-to-ship transfer operation with a Russian-flagged vessel.

The European Union approved its fifth package of sanctions against Russia in April 2022. Among other things, it prohibited Russian ships from entering ports in the European Union.

As reported earlier, the European Union’s ban on the provision of services involving the transportation of Russian crude oil by sea, as well as its insurance, brokerage services, and financing of operations, came into effect on 5 December. Despite this, maritime export of Russian crude oil, particularly through Black Sea ports, had an upward trend in January.