SCI takes delivery of Suezmax crude carrier
The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd. (SCI) took delivery of a Suezmax crude oil tanker, named as m.t. “Desh Shobha” this morning. It was purchased from Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co. Ltd (HSHI), S. Korea on resale basis. The order for the vessel was placed on HSHI by the joint venture company Irano Hind Shipping Company (IHSC) which is now in the process of being wound up. SCI holds 49 percent in this defunct JV, formed in 1974, and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) 51 percent.
Tehran has been under intense UN watch due to its alleged nuclear weapons program. Following the US and Israeli pressure, the UN Security council slapped economic blockade on Tehran, including oil sales, in 2010. Accordingly, the Indian government took the decision to cease operations and wind up the JV. It is understood that because of the sanctions Hyundai had refused delivery of the vessel to IHSC. Hence SCI had to purchase the vessel.
m.t. “Desh Shobha” has a gross tonnage of 81,334 tonnes and deadweight of 1,58,034 tonnes at scantling draft. The vessel has been classed with LR and IRS and has been built to comply with latest international regulations.
The shipping markets are prevailing at low levels at present and as a result the shipbuilding industry has been going through a recessionary phase. This has presented opportunities for acquiring vessels at attractive prices. SCI has used this available opportunity to acquire the vessel from HSHI.
India as a nation is dependent on import of crude oil and having tankers under Indian flag provides vital energy security to the country. As is known, uninterrupted transport and supply of oil, a major source of primary energy, is vital to a country’s growth. In times of international crisis, it is all the more important to maintain a secured supply line. In view of this, addition of crude oil tankers to national fleet will ensure uninterrupted transport of essential cargoes such as crude oil and petroleum products in the process ensuring national and energy security. Energy transportation has also been the core business segment for SCI and induction of this vessel in SCI’s fleet will strengthen its position in the energy transportation sector.
In view of this strategic acquisition, SCI’s crude oil tanker fleet has increased to 3.63 million dwt and SCI’s fleet strength has now increased to 78 vessels totalling 5.69 million dwt. The company has 21 vessels on order at present and 7 of these are slated for delivery during the remaining period of 2012. According to S. Hajara, the CMD of SCI there is no plan for any new acquisitions in the near future considering the depressing state of sea transport.