NEW DELHI - India's Mercator Lines has stopped offering a ship for transporting Iranian oil to India due to US political pressure, industry and shipping sources said, adding to obstacles Iran faces in exporting its crude.
The Omvati Prem was the only ship backed by local emergency insurance and available for charter by Indian refiners when US and European sanctions hit other cover for ships carrying Iranian crude.
Iran took advantage of this to engage the ship for the delivery of two cargoes to its top Indian client, refiner MRPL , which does not have the facilities to take Tehran's larger vessels.
National Iranian Oil Corp (NIOC), which does not have smaller ships like the Omvati Prem, will now have to use its suezmax ships only partially loaded to be able to deliver to MRPL's plant.
"At the moment we are not having any plans to lift cargoes from Iran," Kowshik Kuchroo, president of shipping at Mercator Lines Ltd., said in an interview.
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