Iran Ship Insurer Says Asian Operators Asking to Cover Tankers

An Iranian organization that insures ships against risks such as spills and collisions has been approached by Asian tanker operators about covering their vessels, the group’s managing director said.

Chinese and Taiwanese companies that manage tankers have inquired about obtaining insurance for tankers hauling crude oil, refined fuels or chemicals from the Kish Protection & Indemnity Club, Mohammad Reza Mohammadi Banayi, managing director, said today. The club, which covers 43 Iranian ships, isn’t authorized to insure foreign vessels, he said.

“We are in a position to step in but we are not authorized to do so,” Banayi said by phone from Tehran. “We have been contacted by lots of people in different parts of the world.”

Asian shippers are seeking new sources of insurance for Iranian cargoes because the European Union’s embargo extends to 95 percent of the world’s tankers that are covered by the 13 members of the London-based International Group of P&I Clubs. Ship owners in Japan and India have asked for sovereign guarantees. The government in China, Iran’s largest customer, has underwritten some Iranian shipments, the International Energy Agency said in March.

Sanctions by Western nations against Iran over its nuclear program have cut the Persian Gulf country’s shipments to 1.8 million barrels a day in April, according to the IEA. That compares with an average of 2.2 million in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Crude oil traded in London rose as much as 19 percent this year to $128.40 a barrel and was at $110.36 a barrel by 11:32 a.m.

The Kish P&I Club covers tankers as well as ships carrying dry-bulk commodities, according to its website. It can cover liabilities for as much as $500,000 and reinsure losses for as much as $1 billion within the Iranian insurance market headed by the Central Insurance of Iran, it said.

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