Nigeria’s national oil company NNPC has lifted the ban on 113 tankers imposed in July, according to a letter released by the corporation on September 8th, Reuters reports.
According to the NNPC letter, also seen by Platts, the president had approved the consideration of all incoming ships into the Nigerian waters “subject to receipt of a Letter of Comfort from all terminal operators and off-takers of Nigerian Oil and Gas as guarantee that nominated ships are free and will not be utilized for any illegal activity whatsoever.”
The ban was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 15th, but reasons behind the decision had not been disclosed. However, it is believed that the move was triggered by the country’s efforts to curb illegal oil trading.
The list of tankers attached to the ban consisted of mostly Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), with some ship names appearing twice and others that have been absent from Nigerian waters for quite some time like the Happiness, the Huge and the Diona, operated by Iranian group NITC. Without the doubles, a total of 102 ships remained blacklisted.
The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko) opposed the ban urging for its immediate lifting. Namely, many members of Intertanko were not sending any of their ships to Nigeria because of fears they could be impounded, a VLCC broker in Singapore is cited by Platts as saying.
These involved even shipowners that did not have any ships included in the ban.
World Maritime News Staff