A new tracking service launched by Greenpeace UK has identified at least 148 supertankers carrying oil and gas from Russia since the start of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, and 69 of them were headed to Europe. Despite some countries declaring a ban on the arrival of Russian vessels, Russian cargo is still arriving via ships registered to other countries.
The environmental group has publicly launched March 11 a beta version of its Russian Tanker Tracker on Twitter, which uses shipping data to monitor supertankers delivering fossil fuels from the country.
U.S. and UK leaders said they will no longer allow Russian oil and gas into their countries, as a strategy to cut its revenues. The EU has not yet followed suit but the European Commission has published a plan to reduce its dependency on Russian fossil fuels and member states are expected to further discuss this proposal in the informal Council meeting taking place in Versailles.
Rosie Rogers, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said: “The huge number of tankers criss-crossing our seas loaded with Russian oil and gas is a tangible sign of our dependence on fossil fuels and proof that it is the biggest contribution to Putin’s war chest.
“Europe is set to send up to €285m per day for Russian oil, which props up his war effort while our bills continue to soar. Europe must stand by the people of Ukraine by pulling every stop to finance Putin’s war machine and get off gas and oil.”
The arrival of Russian gas has already been a controversial subject. In early March, Greenpeace France confronted a Russian LNG tanker at sea that had previously tried to dock in the UK but was diverted after the union of dockers refused to unload its cargo.
In recent days Shell has had to apologize over its decision to purchase a cargo of Russian crude at a discounted price, and the company has now pledged to stop buying from Russia.
Rogers added: “We need to be getting off gas altogether and we have the technologies to do it. All we need is the political will of the EU to carry out an unprecedented program to free Europe from its gas dependence, no matter where it comes from.
“We need an emergency plan to insulate homes, rapidly transform public transport to run on renewable energy and boost ever-cheaper solar and wind power. This will create jobs, lower energy bills, tackle the climate crisis and cut our dependence on imported gas.”
Russia is the largest source of the European Union’s fossil fuel imports. In 2019, two-fifths of the EU’s fossil gas imports came from Russia, as did over a quarter of crude oil imports and almost half of the coal imported. EU imports of energy from Russia were worth €60.1 billion in 2020.
Greenpeace calls on Europe to reject and ban any import of fossil fuels from Russia as an immediate step to weaken Putin’s war machine and save lives, and rapidly phase out all fossil fuels to protect humanity from future conflict.
Photo credit: Greenpeace