The rise and fall of the biggest names associated with the dark fleet 

In the game of tanker whack-a-mole, as port states attempt to crack down on companies hauling Russian oil, some previously fast-growing names are returning to the shadows while others hoover up tonnage to fill the gap.

Mumbai-based Gatik Ship Management, one of the most high-profile companies to be linked to Russian oil shipments in the wake of war with Ukraine, has shrunk its fleet from its peak of nearly 50 vessels to just four tankers today, according to database Equasis. 

Another name that made plenty of headlines over the past year for its links to Russian oil shipments has been Geneva-based Fractal Shipping, which has also offloaded its fleet down to single-digit figures in recent months.

Conversely, United Arab Emirates-based Radiating World Shipping has been on a tanker charge. Having bought its first ship in November last year, it today boasts a fleet of 18 tankers, a mix of suezmaxes, aframaxes and MR2s, all built between 2004 and 2007.  The latest ship to join the Dubai-based company is the Fast Kathy suezmax, formerly Front Njord, bought from Frontline at the end of May for $44.5m. 

Little is known about Radiating World Shipping, a company led by Pakistani national Shahid Naziri, which states on its website its intention to be “fully transparent and open in its deals with clients”.

With the threat of accidents growing from the dark fleet of ships hauling sanctioned cargoes for the likes of Russia, Iran and Venezuela, port states have been cracking down on ships that match a certain profile, leading to a new tack in tanker buying in recent weeks, with sale and purchase reports noting more middle-aged tankers being sold rather than the vintage units which have dominated sales over the past year.