Titan First Shipper To Lose Insurance Under Iran Sanctions

Friday October 12, 2012

Titan Petrochemicals Group Ltd. (Titan) [HKG:1192] has become the first company to lose its insurance under sanctions that came into effect on July 1, 2012 aimed at curbing the sale of Iranian crude and petroleum products, according to a report by Reuters.

Two European insurers have withdrawn their P&I cover for the tankers after it emerged its vessels had been involved in hiding millions of barrels of crude oil sourced from the Islamic Republic along the East Malaysian coast, and its part in the buying and selling of Iranian fuel oil by oil trader Vitol.

"Titan's conduct breaches the spirit if not the wording of U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran," Mike Salthouse, director of North Insurance Management, was quoted as saying last month on behalf of Titan's main insurer the North of England P&I Association.

"Were the Association to continue to provide insurance to the Titan fleet we have concluded that there would be a high probability of further breaches of sanctions," it said.

The world's second-largest marine insurer, Gard, who had covered one of Titan's floating oil storage vessels was reported to have dropped its cover on September 7, 2012.

The move leaves Titan looking for another insurer for its floating oil storage business which generated more than $64 million in revenue last year, a fifth of Titan's total.

The firm is currently waiting on a much delayed hearing on a petition to wind up its business brought by U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC (Warburg Pincus), now scheduled for November 16, 2012.

Mr. Tsoi Tin Chun, Titan's founder and at the time chairman, resigned in July.