Global shipowners protest Nigeria’s ban on 113 crude carriers

Crude oil vessel.

Crude oil vessel.

*Say many ships affected never traded in Nigeria

Oscarline Onwuemenyi,
with agency reports

24 July 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Crude tanker owners have strongly protested against Nigeria’s ban on 113 vessels from loading at its oil terminals and some oil companies seeking assurances that the hired vessels are not on the ban list, according to the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners.

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, or Intertanko is one of the largest grouping in the shipping industry with 207 full members and 285 associate members, and a registered fleet of over 3,000 tankers of over 270 million dwt.

On July 15, a document was issued by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation banning the tankers from entering Nigerian territorial waters and oil facilities.

Intertanko has issued a letter of protest to NNPC’s London office, with copies to the Nigerian high commissioner and the country’s Alternate Permanent Representative at the International Maritime Organization.

“There is no reference to policies and requirements and no evidence or grounds are given for the ban,” the letter addressed to NNPC said.

“Many of these ships have not traded [in] Nigeria for a number of years and some have never been there,” Intertanko’s General Counsel Michele White said in the letter seen by Sweetcrude Reports.

In some cases, the ship has changed ownership since the last call in Nigeria, Bill Box, Intertanko’s manager communications and external relations, said Thursday.

These bans should be lifted with immediate effect until grounds and evidence for the ban have been given to each vessel and its owner or operator, and the owner or operator has had an opportunity to respond, White said.

The owners also said they want the oil companies to share their oil loading and discharge figures in case this information is sought by the Nigerian government.

“Members [say] some oil majors are attempting to introduce charter-party clauses requiring the owner to warrant that the ship is not subject to any Nigerian bans or restrictions due to failure to report any out-turn figures for prior voyages,” Box added.

Intertanko has advised its members to avoid any such clauses in the charter-party agreements, Box said.

“On the contrary, charterers should be asked to warrant that they will ensure that out-turn figures are provided in Nigeria,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ban has not affected the loading schedules in Nigeria, prompting rates to move off its highs.

The key PG-Japan rate was assessed w11.5 points lower Wednesday at w77.

“Government officials have cut all communication but so far there is no emergency,” a source said with reference to Nigeria’s current loading program. Whatever the circumstances, as a result of the NNPC directive, these vessels will not be permitted to operate in Nigerian waters, Box added.

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