Iranian Tanker at Risk of Sinking as Buyer Seeks Alternative Oil
By: Heesu Lee, Ann Koh and Serene Cheong | Jan 08 2018 at 02:19 AM | Maritime
Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co. was considering alternative oil supplies after a fire on board an Iranian tanker that was destined for the South Korean company. The 32 crew members of the vessel were still missing following a collision in the East China Sea with another ship that’s left it in danger of sinking. The Sanchi is still ablaze and may explode after colliding on Saturday with the bulk carrier CF Crystal about 160 nautical miles off the coast of Shanghai, Chinese state media reported, with images showing the ship shrouded in thick black smoke. China, South Korea and the U.S. sent vessels and planes to search for Sanchi’s missing crew—30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, the Associated Press reported. Sanchi was ferrying 1 million barrels of condensate—a hydrocarbon liquid that’s used to make petrochemicals—to Daesan, according to a Hanwha Total spokesman. The firm plans to use its stockpiles as a replacement for the supply, and is considering whether to make additional purchases, he said, asking not to be identified because of internal policy. Hanwha has also issued a tender seeking naphtha—another feedstock involved in petrochemical production—for delivery next month. While Hanwha said it has enough supply in its stockpiles to compensate for the lost cargo, traders see its demand for naphtha increasing after the incident. The Panamanian-flagged tanker is owned by state-run National Iranian Tanker Co. and departed Assaluyeh port on Dec. 16 for Daesan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. All aboard the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered cargo vessel that was carrying grain from the U.S. to China, were rescued, according to China’s Ministry of Transport, which said oil was on the water. Compensation Claim Hanwha plans to claim compensation for the cargo’s loss under its own insurance program, while the damages caused by the collision will probably be covered under NITC’s policy, according to the South Korean company’s spokesman. Iran, the third-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, sells most of its crude and condensate to Asia, exporting about 2 million barrels a day. Condensate is a light oil produced along with natural gas, mainly at Iran’s offshore South Pars fields. The port of Assaluyeh is the main loading point for Iranian condensate.