The ship-to-ship operations (STS) in the zone of the Strait of Gibraltar, with Russian oil transfers, have pointed Ceuta as the core of this activity but the data, provided by Marine Traffic, shows the opposite.
The STS operations require of qualified shipments and personnel, something that Ceuta lacks and are present on the port of Algeciras, and especially Gibraltar being one of the referential ports in the Mediterranean Sea in relation with this kind of operations.
Between the ending of 2022 and the 8th of February of 2023 above 50 operations were counted in the zone of the Strait, the majority of them with assistance from Algeciras. But not all of them received help, with defences (‘Yokohamas’) from the ports of Algeciras or Ceuta.
Curiously, the tankers that are named in the national and international press had done operations STS in “water places near to Ceuta” (Veronica, IMO 9326055, with the Liberian flag; or the Catalina 7, IMO 9310159, with the Panama flag) did not receive help from any Spanish port. Another ship that appears on the specialized media, like Vortexa, the ‘Lauren II’, linked to the zone of destination China, neither had received assistance from Spanish ships.
It is important to note that a lot of motherships or aframax (tanker with less than 120.000) use this kind of defences to avoid scratches and crashing with the big tankers (VLCC) during the oil transfers.
The Strait of Gibraltar is an important marine communication hub where the ship movements are constant and the control outside of territorial waters is complex, but since maritime captaincies from Ceuta and Algeciras started working together to avoid the assistance to tankers from Russian origins, everything points out that they are looking for the aidance form other kinds of ports, like Malta or Argelia.