Iran has procured a new oil tanker with a capacity of 2.2 million barrels, one of the world’s largest. The tanker, which is valued at around $300 million, will join the Iranian fleet within the next few days.
The oil tanker is a ‘floating storage and unload vessel’, said Managing Director of Iranian Offshore Oil Company Mahmoud Zirakchianzadeh.
The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), Iran’s oil shipping operator, is expanding its tanker fleet with the first of 12 supertankers to be delivered from China in May, fortuitous timing for the OPEC member as Western sanctions force Tehran to rely more on its ships to export oil, Reuters reported.
The new tankers, each capable of carrying 2 million barrels of crude, add much-needed capacity to NITC’s fleet at a time when the number of maritime firms willing to transport Iranian crude has dwindled significantly amid European sanctions.
The EU will prohibit European insurers and reinsurers from indemnifying tankers carrying Iranian crude oil anywhere in the world from July, threatening to curtail shipments and raise costs for major buyers like China, India, Japan and South Korea.
The NITC managing director announced in December 2011 that 21 new tankers will be added to the national fleet by the end of 2013, raising the country’s crude transportation capacity to 180 million tons per year.
“Currently, Iran has 49 oil tankers operating in the national fleet,” the NITC director Mohammad Souri told Mehr news agency.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines managing director, Mohammad-Hossein Dajmar, has said that according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Iran holds a 1.17 percent share of the total shipping capacity in the world, placing the country in 19th position.
Iran’s shipping line has currently 165 ships with a capacity of over 1,000 GT and 13 million tons.