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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Novorossiisk Suspends Shipping Due to Storm

Novorossiisk port is not loading any oil shipments and, along with other Russian ports on the Black and Azov Seas, has suspended loading grains due to stormy weather, a port official and a trader said Monday.

Novorossiisk, the country's largest Black Sea port, decided to stop new oil shipments Monday as a second storm approached, the port official said.

"All shipments now depend on weather conditions. We will not restart until we hear the storms have cleared," he said, adding that stormy weather was typical for November. A severe storm sank at least four ships and split open a small oil tanker at the northern mouth of the Black Sea late Sunday. A major rescue operation was under way.

Five ships have been anchored offshore to minimize damage.

Three of the anchored ships have a crude oil capacity of 80,000 tons each. The deadweight of the remaining two -- used for refined products -- was unknown, the official said.

He said the oil tankers could be half full, having been partially loaded before the storm broke.

An empty tanker with capacity of 140,000 tons of crude oil was on its way to Novorossiisk but would also be anchored, he said.

Grain shipments from Novorossiisk and ports on the Azov Sea have been suspended on the same day that a 10 percent export tariff on wheat and a 30 percent tariff on barley take effect.

"Although stormy weather is typical of the season, we have not had such bad storms for quite some time. Loading of ships has either slowed down or has been suspended altogether," a logistics official at a major Western grain trading firm said.