NITC Faces Headwinds On Tanker Sailings
European analysts have forecast difficulties for the reentry of Iran's tanker fleet into international markets. Getting insurance, meeting the stringent maintenance and equipment requirements of potential foreign clients, and the continued blacklisting of the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) by the U.S. and the E.U. could all impede the return of Iranian tankers to global trade.
"It is fair to say that commercially they will probably be more difficult to fix than a ship of ... an independent owner or certainly a non-Iranian owner," said Hugo de Stoop, CFO of Belgian tanker owner Euronav. "It will take some time."
Despite these forecasts of trouble securing necessary coverage, NITC Director of Commerce Nasrollah Sardashti announced in October that Iran was in negotiations with British and Swedish insurance companies for the insurance of the company's tankers.
He added that major companies from a variety of foreign countries had an interest in providing commercial maritime services to NITC's fleet, including insurance and repairs.
Recent announcements regarding the construction of LNG tankers in Iran, in addition to orders for additional VLNGs from foreign yards and an agreement to lease a Belgian FLNG facility, all indicate that some foreign maritime firms will do business with Iran.
“Following the international political opening, numerous number of qualified international firms, from among the companies that used to have vast cooperation with NITC, have approached NITC negotiating terms of insurance policies,” Sardashti said.
Speaking to Iranian media in July, NITC managing director Ali Akbar Safaei forecast the lifting of the E.U. blacklist once broader sanctions against Iran are removed. The phase-out of sanctions is expected to begin in 2016 if Iran complies with the terms of its international nuclear agreement.