In the town of Durres, Albanian police, with other law enforcement agencies, reportedly stopped a Liberian-registered vessel loaded with suspected oil from Russia on Monday.
The operation ended with the arrest of the 22 crew members, relevant authorities informed. The 22,500 tons of seized oil have an estimated market value of over 40 million euros.
The ship set sail from Azerbaijan and had claimed to have been loaded with oil in Greece’s Kalamata from another vessel, the police said.
The alibi was inadequate to convince relevant Albanian authorities, who firmly believed that the oil came originally from Russia. Albania has backed the EU, and Western sanctions levied against Russia due to its war against Ukraine.
This was not the first instance of trafficking petroleum items in Albania. Over the last few years, several vessels have tried to deliver Libyan oil to Albania.
In September 2022, the Albanian Coast Guard reportedly seized a tanker named Queen Majeda with about 2,275 tons of oil. It was supplied in Benghazi in, Libya, an area not under the control of the internationally recognized Libyan government.
References: Balkan Insight, Olt News