Suezmax tanker with European insurance cover calls at Iranian port
A Suezmax tanker with Western insurance cover visited two Iranian oil ports recently to load condensate cargo in a bid to take advantage of the easing of economic sanctions against Tehran, market sources said this week.
The Alexandra 1, which is run by Transland Bulk Carriers Limited, called at Iran's Assaluyeh oil port on July 25 in unladen status and left for the Iranian port of Kharg Island on July 29 after being loaded, according to market sources and Platts ship-tracking tool cFlow.
The carrying of Iranian crude by the Alexandra 1 is considered to be a significant development since the vessel's protection and indemnity (P&I) cover is provided by the UK-based West of England P&I Club.
It is a major break from the recent past when ships covered by Western P&I clubs were barred from lifting oil cargoes from Iran due to the enforcement of the EU and U.S. sanctions.
West of England Insurance Services Director Tony Paulson confirmed to Platts on Monday that the company has an entry for the Alexandra I in its registers but said it is "subject always to our policy terms and conditions."
In November, China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the U.S., also called the P5+1 group, reached an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program and published a Joint Plan of Action, or the JPoA, which included a temporary suspension of transportation and insurance prohibitions from January for a period of six months.
Recently the suspension was extended by another four months but insurance companies are worried that the deferment may be withdrawn anytime in case the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 run into trouble.
Iran had been exporting some 2.2-2.3 million barrels per day of crude before the U.S. and EU sanctions came into effect in late June and the beginning of July two years ago. Last year, according to International Energy Agency estimates, imports of Iranian crude by India, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey averaged just 1.1 million b/d.