India might be reinstating oil imports from Iran, what used to be the country’s second biggest oil supplier, in spite of the sanctions imposed by the West against Teheran which are still in force.
As unravelled by Reuters, India’s Shipping Ministry has addressed a letter to Great Eastern Shipping Co (Gesco), a private shipping company, asking for provision of tankers which would carry Iranian oil and supply it for Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL), Iran’s major Indian consumer.
The letter comes in the aftermath of GESCO’s refusal to import Iranian cargoes for MRPL on the grounds of protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance, or better said, lack thereof for cargo of Iranian origin.
“You (Gesco) are requested to arrange for the necessary insurance cover immediately and nominate suitable vessels to MRPL/Transchart for loading Iran crude oil under the CoA (Contract of Affreightment),” an industry official acquainted with the letter’s content said, explaining that now India has permitted its insurers to cover for Iranian imports with some sort of indemnity.
On the other hand, Gesco claims that it has not yet received the letter, arguing that with a view to the situation in its present form the insurance coverage is insufficient to resume the supply of Iranian oil.
Accordingly, the situation in India is somewhat unclear when it comes to imports from Iran, since the country made case-by-case decisions on allowing imports and insurance for the precious cargo in question.
World Maritime News Staff, August 8, 2012