Since July 2012, when the EU imposed new bans on Iran to prevent its member states from purchasing, trading and insuring the Iranian oil, it is the first time that a Chinese tanker has visited a port in Iran, the company said.
"As far as I can see, this is the first confirmed visit to an Iranian port by a Chinese-owned crude oil carrier since the ban,” said Richard Hurley, senior maritime data specialist at IHS Fairplay.
The ship has been insured by Skuld, a company based in Oslo, for protection and indemnity risks, according to the insurer. The company said its cover for any vessel would terminate if it had to face sanctions due to EU laws regarding Iran’s oil. However, Skuld did not verify if its cover for the Chinese oil carrier has been excluded.
"We insure ships on a yearly basis and do not usually know what particular activity a ship is engaged in at any one time,” Skuld said in its statement. "In general we only become aware of a particular ship’s location and cargo if there is an incident giving rise to a claim. An owner is not obliged to inform Skuld about the trade he is conducting with the vessel.”
China has frequently announced its opposition to the unilateral sanctions that the US and the EU have imposed on Iran over allegations that the Persian Gulf country is seeking militarize its nuclear technology, a claim Iran has vehemently rejected.
"China maintains normal and transparent energy cooperation with Iran in accordance with its own energy requirements,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.