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18 Apr 2023

B4Ukraine Coalition

Letter to TMS Tankers regarding its ongoing business activities in Russia

...TMS Tankers Ltd. provide “comprehensive ship management services including technical management and supervision of maintenance, inspections and repairs, safety, quality and environmental compliance, crew management and training, as well as purchasing, […] management services including operations, post-fixture administration, accounting, freight invoicing and insurance.”

In June, TMS Tankers’ Daytona carrying Russian oil products, was detained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, to investigate the cargo which originated in Kazakhstan, but sailed from the Russian Taman peninsula in the Black Sea.14 While the tanker provided certificates of origin and documentation proving that the cargo abided by Russian restrictions, the encounter showed the stringency of sanctions against Russia. The brush did not dissuade TMS Tankers from furthering its business with Russia. In January 2023 alone, Greek-owned ships handled at least 21 voyages of Russian crude to a variety of destinations, and TMS Tankers-owned the Lovina, loaded crude at Russia's Primorsk port and sailed to India. Between February 24 and August 31, TMS Tankers exported the most oil, gas and coal out of all European companies, totaling 8.7 million tonnes DWT.

As oil is the principal source of income for the Kremlin, shipowners who assist Moscow in earning from it support Russia and its war in Ukraine. As a result, the Ukrainian National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) has included TMS Tankers in the list of international sponsors of the war. The basis for this decision was the information provided by the Economic Security Council of Ukraine, which notes the company’s significant contribution to the Russian economy. Likewise, George Economou, the owner of TMS Tankers, George Kourelis, the General Manager of TMS Tankers, and Daniel - Costin Șindrilaru, the Chief Officer of TMS Tankers, were personally included on the list as individual sponsors of war.

Due to these developments, we are requesting a clarification from TMS Tankers regarding its position on the Russian market. The company’s activities risk enabling and financing Russia’s violations of IHL and human rights law during the ongoing invasion and occupation of Ukraine and violating TMS Tankers’ obligations to the UNGPs. It remains to be seen how directly TMS Tankers will be impacted by the partial mobilisation and the heightened legal, regulatory, operational, and financial risks associated with companies being required to provide direct support to the internationally sanctioned Russian military...