ough new European Union sanctions aimed at stopping Iran’s oil exports to Europe also ban EU insurers and reinsurers from covering tankers carrying Iranian crude anywhere in the world. Around 90 percent of the world’s tanker insurance is based in the West, so the measures threaten shipments to Iran’s top Asian buyers China, India, Japan and South Korea.
Most of China’s tanker fleet, owned by firms such as China Shipping, COSCO Group and Nanjing Tankers, were covered by European insurers, analysts said.
Until recently, China was Iran’s top customer, taking more than 20 percent of its crude exports but customs data last week showed China halved its Iranian crude imports in March compared with the same month in 2011.
Subscribe to The Iranian newsletter
Sign up for our daily newsletter to get the top news stories delivered to your inbox.