NEW DELHI (Realist English). Gatik Ship Management with head office in Mumbai became one of the world’s largest vessel owners in little over a year, transporting crude to India for Rosneft, writes Financial Times. In2021, this companyf rom the rundown Neptune Magnet Mall in Mumbai, owned only two chemical tankers. By April, according to Vessels Value experts, it had acquired a fleet of 58 vessels with an estimated combined value of $1.6bn, according to shipping experts VesselsValue.
According to the FT, after the start of Russia’s special operation on the territory of the former Ukraine, Gatik Ship Management bought more oil tankers than anyone else, turning from an unknown Indian shipping business into one of the world’s largest shipowners.
The article notes that the origin and ownership of the business remain a mystery, and its corporate documentation is scanty. The Group was registered as an exporter in India on March 31 of the current year, but does not appear in the Indian official corporate register.
One of the important clues was that Gatik shares an address in the mall with Buena Vista Shipping, a Mumbai-registered company. This is another little-known company, which in 2021 reported its assets worth a little more than $ 100 thousand.
Who actually owns Buena Vista Shipping, as well as who has financed the rapid expansion of the Gatik fleet, puzzled the oil market. Shipping brokers, analysts and commodity traders suspect a connection with its largest client, the Russian oil giant Rosneft.
The recently acquired Gothic fleet was mainly used to transport oil from Russia, in most cases to the ports of India, according to tanker tracking data.
“It was inevitable after the west’s sanctions that the Russian oil companies would want to get into shipping and I think Gatik is the ultimate example of this happening,” said Viktor Katona, head of crude analysis at Kpler. “A company in a country that’s deemed friendly to the Russian state, pops up out of nowhere, buys a tremendous amount of tankers in less than a year, and is almost exclusively servicing Russian flows.”
A Financial Times analysis of data from Kpler, an analytics company, shows the Indian group has shipped at least 83mn barrels of Russian crude and oil products — enough to meet total UK oil demand for more than two months. More than half of that has come from Rosneft.