Seoul: An Iranian supertanker is sailing to Ulsan port, indicating South Korea will probably import oil from the Middle East nation for a third month even amid Western sanctions aimed at curbing the purchases. The Voyager, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) that can carry two million barrels, is signalling for the port on South Korea's southeastern coast that serves the country's biggest refinery, according to ship transmissions captured by IHS.
National Iranian Tanker owns the vessel, which left the port of Kharg Island on November 19. SK Innovation operates an 840,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Ulsan. Yoo Jung Min, a spokesman for the company, couldn't immediately comment on the shipment. South Korea imports almost all its crude.
The country halted cargoes from Iran in August and September after its refiners lost insurance coverage on ships because of Western sanctions against the Islamic republic's nuclear programme, which the US and the European Union say is aimed at developing an atomic weapon. Iran, which says the programme is for civilian purposes, responded by using its state-owned tankers to carry cargoes, allowing South Korea to resume purchases in October and November.
Supertankers typically take more than three weeks to sail to North Asia from Iran, indicating the Voyager may reach its destination in the second half of December. The Midsea is en-route to Daesan on Korea's west coast and may arrive this week, the transmissions show. Hyundai Oilbank Co. owns a 395,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Daesan.