By Rozanna Latiff
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -A Russian-flagged ship targeted by U.S. sanctions and suspected of carrying Iranian oil is heading to Malaysia, shipping data showed on Monday, amid growing scrutiny of businesses linked to Moscow following the invasion of Ukraine.
The Linda, a crude oil tanker identified in a U.S. Treasury document detailing sanctions against Russia, was in the Indian Ocean and was expected to arrive at Sungai Linggi port on Malaysia’s west coast on Sunday, according to data from ship tracking website MarineTraffic.com.
It was not immediately clear whether authorities in Malaysia plan to allow the ship to anchor. Its marine department and foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
U.S. advocacy group United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI), which monitors Iran-related tanker traffic through ship and satellite tracking, said Linda was transporting Iranian oil transferred from another ship at sea on Jan. 30.
The vessel had loaded crude oil from an Iranian port 10 days prior to conducting the transfer to Linda, UANI’s chief of staff Claire Jungman told Reuters, citing satellite data.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the information.
The destination of the oil was not known but it could be transferred to another ship off Malaysian or Singapore waters, Jungman said.
According to the United States, Linda is owned by PSB Leasing, a unit of Russian lender Promsvyazbank, which has also been hit by international sanctions.
In a statement sent to Reuters, Promsvyazbank said PSB Leasing did not own Linda, adding that the vessel was redeemed by its owner in April 2021. The bank did say who the owner was.
French authorities on Saturday seized another ship, Baltic Leader, that they said was owned by PSB Leasing.
Promsvyazbank has similarly denied that its subsidiary owned the vessel.
(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Martin Petty, Tomasz Janowski and Richard Pullin)