Japan P&I Club Says Iran-Origin Bunkers OK

Monday February 4, 2013

The Japan Ship Owners' Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (Japan P&I Club) is telling its members that the use of bunker fuel produced from Iranian oil is not prohibited by European Union (EU) sanctions, Platts reports.

Previously, Japan P&I Club had said the EU could apply sanctions to vessels even if they were only using Iranian fuel for the ship, rather than transporting it.

"It would now seem that ships stemming bunkers that contain a blend of Iranian-origin crude oil will not be caught by the prohibitions (providing the bunker oil is used for the propulsion of the ship and not carried as cargo) on the purchase, transport or importation of Iranian-origin crude oil provided also that the blended bunkers were produced and stemmed in a third country other than Iran, or, as a result of a force majeure event, the bunkers were stemmed at a port of refuge in Iran," the club said in a circular.

The club had warned members on June 28 that it should avoid buying bunkers that were suspected of containing Iranian oil and that the use of Iranian fuel oil might invalidate their reinsurance cover from EU insurers.

EU rules banning transport or insurance of transport of Iranian petroleum products, which went into force on July 1, 2012, had language that did not clearly state whether bunkers were included, but subsequent guidance has said bunkers are not subject to the same rules as fuel being transported.