Europeans in Talks to Insure Iran Oil Tankers

Europeans in Talks to Insure Iran Oil TankersEuropeans in Talks to Insure Iran Oil Tankers

The National Iranian Tanker Company has held talks with three major European firms to provide insurance for the country's oil vessels, the NITC managing director said.

"Negotiations have been held with two British firms and a Swedish company that offer protection and indemnity insurance to oil tankers," Nasrollah Sardashti said, without naming names, IRNA reported.

The insurance, usually referred to as P&I, provides cover to ship-owners, operators and charterers for third-party liabilities encountered in the commercial operation of vessels.

After the landmark July 14 nuclear deal in Vienna between Iran and six world powers, major global insurance companies from Italy, Norway, China, South Korea, Taiwan and India have sent representatives to Tehran to discuss cooperation with NITC.

NITC has also held talks with a number of European tanker rental companies operating in the Far East and with two prominent fuel shipment firms equally interested in working with Iran, Sardashti said without giving names.

The official said the majority of these companies had ties with NITC before the introduction of tougher US and European Union sanctions against the Persian Gulf country in 2011.

EU sanctions against Tehran stopped European insurers, which dominate the marine insurance sector, from offering cover on Iranian crude. The sanctions prevented EU member-states from purchasing Iranian oil or extending insurance coverage to tankers carrying the country's oil.

Sardashti described as "positive" the course of negotiations with these firms, but stressed that the finalization of any deal is bound to lift oil and trade embargoes against the Islamic Republic.

The Wall Street Journal said in a report in July that Iran has the world's largest fleet of supertankers. Having 42 VLCCs, or very large crude carriers, "no other company in the world owns that number of VLCCs", the report said.

With sanctions in place, NITC did not scale back activities. Instead, it put orders for the construction of 20 VLCCs by Chinese companies that have been delivered over the past two and a half years.