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Shipment from occupied Sevastopol to Venezuela marks new direction for Russia grain trades


While Russia has a long-established trading relationship with Venezuela, the Enisey shipment marks a shift in the open trading of grain from occupied territory with international partners


A SANCTIONED Russian bulker carrying grain loaded in the Russian-occupied Crimean port of Sevastopol is scheduled to arrive in Venezuela on Monday, marking the first time that Russia has openly shipped Ukrainian grain this far beyond its nearest trading partners.


The unusual shipment comes as Russia is looking to legitimise trade lanes from occupied Ukrainian territories with its international partners and follows discussions held last year between Russia and Venezuela to establish a joint shipping company operating out of Sevastopol to boost trade between the two heavily sanctioned nations.


Russia-flagged bulk carrier Enisey (IMO: 9079169) started loading grain in Sevastopol on April 9, according to satellite images examined by Lloyd’s List, before exiting the Bosporus on April 30. Its Automatic Identification System tracker signalled an ultimate destination of Puerto Cabello.


Prior to arriving in the Black Sea on March 24, Enisey was signalling a draft of 6.8 metres. Having loaded at Sevastopol following a convoluted journey with no AIS signal, the sanctioned bulker, owned by sanctioned Russian entity TK Nord Project LLC, was signalling a draft of 10.5 metres.

While Lloyd's List Intelligence has been unable to independently verify the origin of the grain loaded, documents obtained by open-source investigators SeaKrime and KibOrg, purport to show that Enisey loaded 27,000 tonness of what is described on the bill of lading as “Russia-origin wheat”.


Previous investigations by Lloyd’s List have found Sevastopol is being used to export Ukraine-origin cargo.


Enisey was approximately 1,500 nautical miles away from Puerto Cabello on Thursday afternoon.


While Russia has a long-established trading relationship with Venezuela, the Enisey shipment marks a shift in the open trading of grain from occupied territory with international partners.


“With this trade, Russia is signalling that legitimising and internationalising the so-called new republics is now a political priority — they are no longer hiding this,” said Bosphorus Observer geopolitical consultant Yörük Işik.



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