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Owner refuses to let gasoline ship sail to Iran

Impacts from sanction spreads into day-to-day businesses.

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July 22, 2010 1:43 by



The owner of a gasoline tanker refused to allow the vessel to sail to Iran from Turkey earlier in July, trade and shipping sources said on Wednesday.

The impact of a new wave of international sanctions over Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities has been spreading into day -to-day businesses this month as the West fears Iran’s nuclear activities could lead the country to make a bomb, something Teheran denies it wants.

Shipping and oil trading sources said a Liberian flagged clean oil products tanker, the Lia, was believed to be chartered by Iranian shipping company NITC to load gasoline on July 12-15 produced by Turkish refinery Tupras <TUPRS.IS> from the Turkish port of Izmit as part of a term supply contract.

But the owner decided not to allow the captain to sail to Iran, they said. Other sources could not confirm whether the Lia was the vessel in question.

A source said the owner of the Lia is Pintail B.V., which could not be reached for comment.

The ship is managed by Marwave Shipmanagement based in the Netherlands, sources said.

Marwave and NITC declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Tupras said the company did not immediately have information on the issue.

“Normally, a tanker is arranged ahead of loading and this is a term contract. So the owners must have known the destination in advance but changed their minds at the last minute,” one oil trader said.

“Business with Iran is becoming more and more difficult. Now some cargoes to Iran cannot be insured.”

Pressure on Iran was compounded earlier this month when insurance market Lloyd’s of London said it would not insure or reinsure petroleum shipments going into Iran.

Lloyd’s, which has 15 to 20 percent of the global marine insurance sector, is seen as a major influence on other insurance markets with more players pulling back from offering cover to Iran.

Key shipping associations have also created clauses in contracts which enable ship owners to refuse to deliver refined petroleum cargoes to Iran.

AIS tracking data on Reuters Freight Views showed the Lia, a 73,723 deadweight tonne vessel was currently anchored in the Black Sea near the Bulgarian port of Bourgas.

Many businesses, including oil majors, have become cautious about deals with Iran as U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law early in July imposing tough new sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors, hoping to curb nuclear work.

BP confirmed last week it ceased supplying jet fuel to Iran Air at Germany’s Hamburg airport at the end of June. Royal Dutch Shell has let its contract with the airline lapse in response to the latest sanctions, an industry source said. European Union foreign ministers will adopt tighter sanctions against Iran next week, including measures to block oil and gas investment and curtail its refining and natural gas capability.

(Reporting by Jonathan Saul, Emma Farge and Chris Baldwin in London and Gleb Gorodyankin in Moscow, additional reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley in Istanbul and Parisa Hafezi in Teheran, writing by Ikuko Kurahone; editing by Keiron Henderson)



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