Mercator Ltd.

Shipping, Energy

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"NITC has chartered the vessel the Omvati Prem, owned by Mumbai-based Indian shipper Mercator Ltd, and used it to carry an oil cargo that sailed from Iran in December for Indian refiner Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, the sources said. The deal included cost, insurance and freight (CIF), they said... Mercator was the only company to use the scheme. Before NITC chartered the Omvati Prem, MRPL had used the vessel -- which can carry about 635,000 barrels -- to import Iranian crude... 'Iran offered Mercator a better rate than MRPL, that's why they have taken the risk of joining hands with NITC,' another shipping source said. 'Mercator has taken a risk as NITC is a blacklisted company under sanctions.' Mercator paid $26,105 for P&I cover to United India Insurance Company and 1,852,710 rupees for hull and machinery cover to The New India Assurance for a voyage between December 28 and January 27, documents seen by Reuters show. Sources at the two insurance companies were not aware that Mercator had used the policy to deliver an Iranian cargo on a CIF basis. Mercator did not respond to Reuters enquiries. MRPL, India's shipping ministry, United India Insurance and The New Indian Assurance Co Ltd all declined to comment for the story." (Reuters, "Iran charters oil ship with Indian insurance: sources," 1/15/2013)



"The MT Omvati Prem — a tanker contracted to carry 85,000 metric tons of crude oil from Iran for Indian state refiner Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. — is scheduled to arrive in India by Aug. 25, said Kowshik Kuchroo, president of shipping for Mercator Ltd., an Indian shipping company. 'This being a government of India cargo, it has a different sense of importance. We’re not doing it just for business,' Kuchroo said Monday. 'India is in definite need of the crude. At a short notice, we can’t just snap the supply.' Mercator is insuring the ship with $50 million in hull and machinery insurance, which covers physical damage to the ship, from state-owned New India Assurance Co. It’s insuring the vessel with another $50 million in protection and indemnity insurance, which covers a broad range of liabilities, including environmental pollution and cargo damage, from government-backed United India Insurance. That is a far cry from the $1 billion in coverage Indian companies like Mercator got from European insurers, which used to underwrite most maritime coverage... Mercator aside, most Indian shippers don’t like the terms of the insurance coverage and have declined to send tankers to Iran." (The Washington Post, "India to resume shipping Iran oil, as Asia looks for ways around EU insurance sanctions," 8/13/2012)


"India has been forced to seek its own arrangements to insure its purchases of Iranian oil, officials said, even as it reduces imports under pressure from U.S. and European Union sanctions. Indian state-owned insurers, shipping lines and government officials met to discuss the situation in Mumbai on Wednesday. India's state-run insurance firms have agreed to offer coverage of up to $50 million for each Indian ship carrying Iranian crude. Such coverage is much lower than the up to $1 billion that European insurers would normally give per ship to cover third-party claims in the event of an oil spill or other accident…The problems facing India show the effectiveness of policies aimed at squeezing Iran financially in a bid to force the country to take measures that guarantee its nuclear program isn't being used for weapons development. Tehran says the program is for peaceful purposes…Indian shippers, such as Shipping Corp. of India, Great Eastern Shipping Co. and Mercator Ltd., handled a total of about six to seven ships carrying Iranian crude every month before the EU ban, said Anil Devli, head of the Indian National Shipowners Association. The Indian shipping industry was also pushed to accept low insurance coverage because it doesn't want to see its business going to Iranian tankers, the executive said. 'The petroleum ministry wants to bring crude in Iranian vessels which will hurt business for Indian ships, so we accepted this figure,' he said." (The Wall Street Journal, "Insurance Woes Slow India Deals for Iran Oil," 7/11/2012)