A Russian oil tanker, the NS Century, has been adrift for 10 days, approximately 1,600 miles off the coasts of India. The tanker was originally scheduled to dock at India’s Vadinar port after its journey from South Korea. However, Indian authorities are grappling with the decision of whether to allow the vessel to unload its cargo. The Indian Directorate General of Shipping has revealed that instructions from the government are still pending.The intended destination for the NS Century was Vadinar port, where facilities of the Indian Oil Corp and Nayara Energy, an Indo-Russian energy company, are located. Interestingly, the cargo aboard the NS Century is not destined for Nayara’s refinery, as confirmed by a Nayara spokesperson.
Despite attempts to seek comments from Nayara and Indian Oil Corp, there has been no immediate response. The uncertainty surrounding the docking permission coincides with recent efforts by Western nations, including the US, to tighten restrictions on Russian oil. Last week, the US imposed sanctions on five shipping vessels, including the NS Century, for trading Russian oil above the G7’s $60 price cap.
This move is part of a broader strategy to curb Moscow’s energy revenue amid Russia’s prolonged invasion of Ukraine. Notably, India has maintained a strategic neutrality stance on the conflict since it began in 2022, although it was among Russia’s top oil customers last year, according to Kpler data.
India is facing pressure to maintain positive relations with the US, and the recent challenges with Russian oil shipments are occurring as the nation becomes uneasy about paying for crude using China’s yuan. As of October, India reportedly had at least seven unpaid oil shipments from Russia, reflecting the growing complexities in its energy dealings.