Iranian Tankers Free to Enter International Ports

Iranian Tankers Free to Enter International Ports
Iranian Tankers Free to Enter International Ports

Restrictions on Iranian tankers’ insurance have been removed and the country’s crude carriers are now allowed to enter any oil terminal in the world, managing director of National Iranian Tanker Company announced on Friday.

“With the resolution of insurance problems, international insurance institutes have  expanded their coverage to Iranian vessels, which can now berth at all ports,” Ali-Akbar Safaei was also quoted as saying by IRNA.

According to Safaei, there is no longer any limitation on the tankers, which are either owned by Iran or foreign ones that berth at Iranian terminals.

The official stressed that NITC is holding negotiations with international insurance companies, including the International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs, on price and circumstances, under which the country’s tankers will be covered after reaching an agreement.

The organization protects more than 90% of the world’s crude carriers against risks, which include spills.

Iran has been using Kish P&I, backed in part by the government, for insurance on shipments.

Safaei said the licenses for Iranian tankers have been issued by international classification institutes, which makes it possible for NITC’s vessels to berth at European Union terminals.

Iran has already resumed shipments to Europe, though apparently not by its own tankers. In February, three international vessels loaded a total of 4 million barrels of oil purchased by French major Total, Spanish refiner Cepsa and Lukoil, Russia's second largest oil producer.

Nassrollah Sardashti, NITC’s commercial director, said on Wednesday that following Egypt’s permission for Iran to use the SUMED oil pipeline, the first Iranian oil tanker will berth at a European oil terminal in the Iranian month starting May 21.

SUMED is an oil pipeline in Egypt running from Ain Sukhna Terminal on the Gulf of Suez to Sidi Kerir Terminal in Egypt's northern city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean Sea.

The European Union introduced tougher sanctions against Iran in early 2012, including a ban on the insurance of Iranian tankers and shipment of its crude oil and petroleum products.

“Given the fact that all laws and regulations regarding marine transportation issues such as safety and environment are international, the activities of Iranian tankers were severely restricted by the US-engineered sanctions,” he added.

Safaei said that following the removal of sanctions on Jan. 16, NITC has undertaken a great deal of efforts to reach agreements with insurance and classification institutes.

The Persian Gulf country’s oil exports had been limited to Turkey, China, India, Japan and South Korea under the sanctions regime, which were mainly carried by NITC’s 70 tankers that constitute the world’s largest tanker fleet.