(Bloomberg) -- A handful of oil tankers that had entered the waters off southern Greece to transfer Russian petroleum were forced to depart again after the local navy re-issued a notice that it would carry out exercises in the area.

The Laconian Gulf, about 110 miles southwest of Athens, has become a vital logistics area for the trade in Russian fuel and crude, allowing cargoes to be switched between vessels for transfers to Asian customers. 

This month though, the Greek Navy started carrying out exercises in the area in a bid to halt an activity that helps Moscow’s export machine to keep functioning. 

The ships then briefly returned to the gulf on Monday after a notice expired the day before. However, the Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service announced a resumption on Monday and the tankers have now departed again. The latest notice runs until June 3.

The navy also added a second area, to the south, where exercises will take place. It cuts off a location where the tankers had gone to carry out their cargo transfers. 

There is a gap between the Laconian Gulf and the newly-added area where a lot of the tankers are now clustered.

--With assistance from Julian Lee.

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