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Spain has barred a Maltese ship suspected of carrying cargo transferred from a Russian vessel from its waters, in accordance with sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) on Russia in the wake of its military attack on Ukraine.

The Spanish transport ministry was quoted by The Local news agency as saying: “The Maltese-flagged ship Black Star is denied access to Spanish territorial waters because there is evidence that it was carrying cargo transferred from the Russian ship Andrey Pervozvanniy, which is subject to EU sanctions.”

According to the authorities, the Maltese ship intended to unload cargo, including non-food palm oil and derivatives, on Wednesday evening at the port of Barcelona.

Spanish authorities had already halted the Andrey Pervozvanniy vessel in Barcelona as a result of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

The European Maritime Safety Agency reported to the Spanish merchant navy regarding the transfer of cargo from the Andrey Pervozvanniy ship to the Black Star vessel on 24 April.

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The activity was carried out by ships at a distance of ‘12.5 nautical miles north-west of the island of Malta’, according to the transport ministry.

Under the fifth package of sanctions, Russian-flagged ships were banned from docking in EU ports.

Vessels carrying food, humanitarian aid or energy are exempt from the sanctions.

Earlier this month, Spanish authorities impounded a motor yacht called Tango at the request of the US.

The $90m motor yacht was owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

Spain also seized the superyacht Crescent, said to belong to Russian oligarch Igor Sechin, last month.