Reporters United & Investigate Europe reporters have been working for a year on the #FuellingWar investigation, a project demonstrating how European firms and European shipowners were ultimately financing Russia’s war in Ukraine with multi-million fossil fuel trades after the Russian invasion. Their latest story reveals how western oil traders are moving Russian-linked oil through an environmentally risky and uncontrolled practise called STS (Ship-To-Ship), where a ship unloads cargo to another at sea. These trades are occurring daily in the Mediterranean, and more precisely in the area suggested by the coordinates shown in the visualisation, the Laconic Gulf.
We wanted to show how the two oil tankers are cosying up next to each other for an STS transfer, with their protective gear in between, aka their “fenders”, to prevent them from bumping to one another. We were inspired by the crew and the yellow tapes on the ship’s deck to incorporate some colour and create symmetry.
The southern Peloponnese in Greece, shown faded in our illustration, popular among tourists for its pristine beaches and idyllic villages, has become a key oil artery, waiting for an oil spill to happen.