John Smith spoke to the Wall Street Journal about shipping companies purchasing dozens of secondhand oil tankers this year, paying record prices for ice-class ships that can navigate frozen seas around Russia's Baltic ports in winter in an effort to get Russian oil to market after the harshest sanctions to date strike Russia's energy industry next week.

According to John, the shadow fleet grew a decade ago to ship Iranian oil after the U.S. tightened sanctions on Tehran in 2012. It expanded again after then-President Trump hit Iran with sanctions in 2018, according to shipbrokers and companies that track vessel movements.

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