Sanctions tighten as some companies refuse to ship Iranian crude
Sanctions on Iran are tightening after Overseas Shipholding Group, Frontline Ltd. and owners controlling more than 100 supertankers said they would stop loading cargoes from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' second-largest producer, Bloomberg reported.
OSG, based in New York, said Feb. 10 that the pool of 45 supertankers from seven owners in which its carriers trade will no longer go to Iran. Nova Tankers A/S and Frontline, with a combined 93 vessels, said Feb. 9 and 11 they won't ship Iranian crude.
U.S. and EU leaders are trying to tighten restrictions on business with Iran, which produced 3.55 million barrels of crude a day in January, 11 percent of OPEC's total, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Oil sales earned Iran $73 billion in 2010, accounting for about 50 percent of government revenue and 80 percent of exports, the U.S. Energy Department estimates.
Previous efforts to curb Iran's oil income and stop it from developing nuclear weapons failed because the structure of the shipping industry means vessels are often managed by companies outside the U.S. or European Union.
An EU embargo on Iranian oil agreed to Jan. 23 extended the ban to ship insurance. With about 95 percent of the tanker fleet insured under rules governed by European law, there are fewer vessels able to load in Iran.
The UN has imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency said in November the country has studied how to make an atomic bomb.
The government in Tehran says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes and that documents held by the IAEA purporting to show designs and tests of weapon components are inaccurate.
Edited by: S. Isayev