Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- China has hired at least two supertankers to ship oil from Iran as the U.S. and allies try to cut the Islamic Republic’s oil income to pressure it over its nuclear program.
The two supertankers were booked to carry about 2 million barrels of crude from Kharg Island to China, according to Clarkson Research Services Ltd., a unit of the world’s largest shipbroker. Two other ships that called at an Iranian oil terminal are heading for China, according to AISLive Ltd. ship- tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.
China imported 2.4 million metric tons of crude from Iran last month, according to customs data. While European Union diplomats agreed today to embargo Iranian oil and Japan said it would reduce its imports from Iran, China’s vice foreign minister said this month that his government “opposes imposing pressure and sanctions.”
A very large crude carrier called Qi Lian San was booked to load 270,000 tons of crude at Kharg Island from Feb. 3 to Feb. 5 and carry the cargo to China, according to Clarkson. The vessel is anchored near Singapore.
Zhuhai Zhenrong Co., the Chinese oil trader sanctioned by the U.S. Jan. 12 for allegedly selling refined petroleum to Iran, also booked an unidentified ship owned by the National Iranian Tanker Co. to load 265,000 tons of crude in Kharg Island on Jan. 29 and sail to Ningbo, according to Clarkson. The booking was also reported by shipbroker Poten & Partners in New York.
The Davar is sailing to Ningbo after leaving Iran’s Soroosh terminal on Jan. 11, ship-tracking data show, and the Hoda is bound for Shui Dong after calling at the same port on Jan. 18. The National Iranian Tanker Co. owns both very large carriers.
--Editors: Claudia Carpenter, Sharon Lindores
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