Russia still smuggling Venezuelan crude oil.
- On the afternoon of February 22nd the Liberian flagged "SCF KHIBINY" set sail from the oil terminal at the Port of Nemrut in Turkey. Owned & operated by SCF NOVOSHIP out of Russia, they spent a day and a half off the coast of Aliaga Turkey before changing the name of the ship being reported by its AIS (Automatic Identification System).
At 23:25 UTC on February 24 the "SCF KHIBINY" became "MERCURY I" and then on the 27th set sail heading west through the Mediterranean sea. In a practice that is common with ships attempting to evade scrutiny while sailing to Venezuela the stated destination on the AIS is set to "Gibraltar for Order" and then later to "Curacao".
On March 15 "MERCURY I" arrives in the Port of Spain anchorage of Trinidad & Tobago. However the ship doesn't even stop and turns west sailing past the Venezuelan coast, past the ABC islands and makes it almost all the way to Barranquilla Colombia. On March 17 while still 40 nautical miles from Barranquilla the "MERCURY I" AIS signal becomes un-detectable by both land & satellite based receivers.
36 days later on April 22nd the "MERCURY I" reappears south west of Grenada and seems unsure about their destination, first sailing west then back east towards Trinidad and finally committing to heading south west into the Atlantic.
Over the next 2 months "MERCURY I" sails west around the Horn of Africa ending up more than 10,000 nautical miles away near the coast of Malacca Malaysia.
On July 10th "AFRA ROYAL" and "MERCURY I" pull alongside one another to do a ship to ship transfer. This is another method of disguising the origin of the cargo, with loading documents typically forged to indicate the cargo originated in Malaysia.
The "Afra Royal" crude oil tanker is owned by ROYALTY MARINE LIMITED and operated by International Tanker Management Limited. Neither of these companies are currently the subject of US Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) sanctions.
Written with information from @Infodio (Infodio.com)