The state-run Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) will purchase an oil tanker ordered by its joint venture company IHSC as the Korean shipbuilder Hyundai has refused to deliver it to the Iranian majority stakeholder due to sanctions, an official said here today.

The SCI has a 49 per cent stake in IHSC, with the rest being owned by Iran Shipping Lines, and SCI is purchasing the asset as the Korean shipbuilder Hyundai has refused to deliver the vessel to Irano Hind Shipping Company (IHSC) due to international sanctions on Tehran for the Persian state’s alleged clandestine nuclear weapon programme.

“One tanker which was under construction with Hyundai, will be taken delivery of by SCI in a couple of days,” S Hajara, Chairman and Managing Director, SCI said on the sidelines of a shipping summit here.

He said Hyundai refused to either accept money or deliver the vessel to IHSC, due to sanctions and thus SCI, a minority partner in the joint venture, decided to purchase the vessel.

“That vessel was not delivered to Irano Hind by Hyundai. They refused to deliver it because of the sanctions and Irano Hind also could not make the final payment because Korean shipbuilder refused to accept the payment,” Hajara said.

The oil tanker has a capacity of 1,53,000 DWT, Hajara said.

Due to the sanctions, it has already decided to wind up the company incorporated in 1975 and divide the seven vessels between the partners.

The SCI has recommended to dissolve the company and the Cabinet is expected to take a final decision shortly.

The SCI is already reeling under troubles because of the glut in the market and it posted a loss of Rs 428 crore in FY2011-12 and recently announced that it would not be going for any new acquisitions given the bleak business prospects.

The company has 21 vessels under order at present and Hajara clarified that the oil tanker is an addition to the vessels under order. He, however, refused to share any financial implications of the decision to acquire the vessel.

Hajara said the overall situation for shipping will improve in the second half of 2013 and already some segments like container movement are showing a jump in charter charges.

About his outlook on tankers in particular, he said, “in case of tankers, the situation is not at all encouraging for ship owners.”


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