Disputed Sudanese oil cargo yet to unload in Japan
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 | 16:30
A ship carrying disputed Sudanese crude remained anchored off southwest Japan on Tuesday, despite a British court ruling giving the tanker permission to unload, three shipping sources said.
The Ratna Shradha, which is owned by India Steamship, is holding 600,000 barrels of crude oil that South Sudan says was seized by neighbouring Sudan last month and which sold it at deep discount to a North Asian trader, the sources said.
The tanker has yet to receive permission to dock from JX Nippon Oil & Energy, operator of the Kiire terminal, a source familiar with the matter said.
"The ship was scheduled to discharge at the terminal, but so far we have not received any news from JX Nippon," the source said.
The tanker has remained off the terminal since Feb. 14, according to Reuters shipping data. The docking schedule for this week does not show the Ratna Shradha unloading, a second shipping source said.
At least two traders said the cargo had been bought by JX Nippon Oil and Energy.
India Steamship, a unit of Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd., and JX Nippon Oil, both declined to comment.
Chambal Fertilisers submitted the case to a British commercial court on Feb. 15, a court official told Reuters, after questions over the legal ownership of the crude emerged.
The defendants in the case are listed as the Republic of Sudan, the Republic of South Sudan and Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises, the official added.
Geneva-based Trafigura, the world's third largest oil trader, bought oil which the South Sudanese government claims was seized by its northern neighbour Sudan.
Landlocked, war-ravaged South Sudan must pump oil to the Red Sea via a pipeline across its northern neighbour to Port Sudan. Oil revenues account for 98 percent of the seven-month-old country's income.
The Ratna Shradha is one of at least three tankers that are part of some $815 million in oil revenues that South Sudan's President Salva Kiir accused Sudan of "looting" and which the government in Khartoum said provided compensation for unpaid transit fees.
It is not yet clear if the other disputed cargoes have been sold.
Sudan has confiscated more than 6 million barrels of South Sudan's oil since December due to the row over oil transit fees, a South Sudanese official said last week.
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