World’s "biggest" oil tanker soon to join Iranian fleet
Azerbaijan, Baku, Apr. 16/ Trend F.Milad/
Iran has bought a colossal oil tanker, with the capacity of loading up to 2.2 million barrels of crude oil which is considered as the largest in the world.
The tanker which is valued at around $300 million will join the Iranian fleet within the next few days, Mehr news agency reported.
The oil tanker is an FSU (floating storage and unload vessel), said Mahmoud Zirakchianzadeh, the managing director of Iranian Offshore Oil Company.
The tanker is primarily for storing the crude oil from several oilfields of Iran in the Persian Gulf, aiming at direct export to global markets, Zirakchianzadeh added.
The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), which is Iran's oil shipping operator, is expanding its oil tanker fleet with the first of 12 super tankers 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 two 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 as from July, threatening to curtail shipments and raise costs for major buyers like China, India, Japan and 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, reaching 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.
In November, National Iranian Tanker Company received the Lloyd's List Awards, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent 2011 as the superior ship operator.
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 per cent share of the total shipping capacity in the world, placing the country in 19th position in this regard. Iran's shipping line has currently 165 ships with a capacity of over 1,000 GT and 13 million tons.