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Russian fuel oil shipments offshore Greece jumped to record levels in April as sanctions on Moscow forced traders to look for new ways to export Russian oil with ship-to-ship (STS) loading, Reuters reported.

Trade in Russian oil and petroleum products remains legal for now, as the European Union has failed to reach unanimity on the sixth package of sanctions, which includes an embargo on oil imports, but banking and other financial sanctions against Russia have complicated the process.

According to Refinitiv, Russian fuel oil shipments to Greece reached nearly 0.9 million tons in April, about double the March level, and may reach new records in May.

According to the data, most of this cargo was shipped from Russian ports to the Greek port of Kalamata.

Traders said fuel oil, a byproduct of refining crude oil into lighter, cleaner products such as automobile fuel, is stored and blended at sea aboard tankers and transshipped from ship to ship for re-export.

Although fuel oil is often offloaded off the Greek coast for export to other destinations, activity levels were very high compared to normal levels in April, an industry source said.

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