Three oil tankers, two Suezmaxes and one Panamax, have been banned from loading at Iraqi oil terminals as a reaction to direct exports of crude by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over the objections of Baghdad, Platts quoted shipping market sources as saying Friday, October 10.
“The United Carrier, the United Dynamic and the Nautilus will no longer be permitted to enter Iraqi oil terminals and other terminals to be used for export of Iraqi crude oil in future,” Platts said, citing Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) notification.
The ban is said to have been imposed so as to prevent the tankers transport crude for the KRG.
According to a Platts source, several other ships that loaded Kurdish crude have been blacklisted by Iraq.
Baghdad has been threatening to ban customers from buying other Iraqi crude grades for some time and to take legal action against anyone involved in the oil’s sale, the Wall Street Journal writes.
Kurdish leadership has encountered numerous obstacles in their attempts to sell oil independently due to defiance from Iraqi’s central government, claiming to be the only authority entitled to sell this natural resource.
The first tanker to load oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, named United Leadership, has unloaded its million-barrel cargo off the coast of Malta this week after over four months, based on the data on the ship-tracking website marinetraffic.com.
The ship has been anchored off Morocco for months unable to unload its cargo at the port of Mohammedia, due to various blockades from Iraqi central government.
The idle United Kalavrvta is still pending unloading off the coast of Texas amid cargo ownership dispute.
The oil tanker was prevented from unloading by a Texas judge, who subsequently withdrew seizure of the vessel for lack of jurisdiction. The legal battle is still ongoing as KRG and Baghdad continue to claim ownership of the cargo.
United Kalavrvta, United Leadership, United Emblem, United Carrier and United Dynamic are all managed by Piraeus-based Marine Management Services M.C.