Friday, October 12, 2012

EU insurers strip cover from ships storing Iran oil

(Reuters) - Two European insurers have withdrawn cover for tankers involved in the Iranian oil trade, the first such move since tough new sanctions were imposed in July, documents obtained by Reuters show.

The tankers, operated by Hong Kong's Titan Petrochemicals Group Ltd, were used to store Iranian oil for top oil trader Vitol and little known shipping firm Glammarine, Reuters reported previously.

While the European Union sanctions bar Western-based insurers from covering tankers that carry, rather than store, Iranian oil, the documents show the insurers were not prepared to risk falling foul of the curbs.

"Titan's conduct breaches the spirit if not the wording of U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran," a September 14 document quoted Mike Salthouse, director of North Insurance Management, as saying on behalf of the North of England P&I Association, Titan's main insurer.

"Were the Association to continue to provide insurance to the Titan fleet we have concluded that there would be a high probability of further breaches of sanctions," it said. Read More