On the eve of the new year, Iranian Ship Owners’ Union (IRSOU) secretary general Yahya Maleki was quoted by state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency saying “With less than two days to go before implementation of the global low sulphur regime for bunker fuels, our shipping fleet has not started using very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) because low sulphur inventories are low,”
According to the Iranian press, Shazand Refinery in the city of Arak, Markazi Province is the only refinery in Iran obliged to produce 500,000 tonnes of VLSFO a year. However, Iran’s shipping fleet requires at least 1.5M tonnes of VLSFO a year.
In addition, the ongoing US sanctions against Iran make bunkering outside the country very difficult.
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control stated that the sanctions extend to providing bunkers to vessels carrying lawful cargo to and from Iran. This also extends to non-Iranian vessels transporting sanctionable goods to and from Iran.
Iran had earlier said it would have no technological difficulty producing low sulphur fuel oil to meet the IMO deadline despite the sanctions.
The IRSOU has sent a letter to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council to demand the launch of LSFO production at major refineries in the country to rectify the shortage.
TURKISH MARITIME NEWS