Iraq Sues Greek Shippers for Transporting Kurdish Oil

Posted by Eric Haun
Thursday, September 04, 2014
United Kalavrvta (Photo: MMS)

Iraq said it filed a lawsuit against Greek shipping company Marine Management Services (MMS) for its role in the export of crude from the Kurdistan region, which Baghdad says is illegal.

The case is the latest move by Baghdad to deter customers and thwart independent exports of crude from the autonomous Kurdistan region. The federal government claims sole authority to manage sales of all the oil in Iraq.

The Iraqi oil ministry said on Thursday that MMS operated five vessels that had transported oil on behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from a Turkish port.

"MMS has actively facilitated the KRG's illegal export scheme, repeatedly ignoring warnings that the crude oil it was carrying does not belong to the KRG," it said in a statement, which did not specify when and where the case was filed.

"MMS is liable for damages of at least $318 million, and possibly significantly more, as a result of its willing and active participation in the KRG's illegal crude oil export scheme."

Athens-based ship manager MMS said it was not aware of any suit filed by the Iraqi government and maintained it was simply carrying out its business of transporting goods.

"We are not a party to this dispute, and any lawsuit filed against us by the Iraqi government is misdirected and ill-advised and will be robustly defended for lacking any basis and foundation," MMS said in a separate statement on Thursday.

"The goods in this case are crude oil, which the KRG claims is rightfully theirs."

MMS said if there was a dispute over the ownership of the cargoes, it had to be resolved between the government in Baghdad and the KRG "either through a political or failing that a judicial process".

The Kurds began exporting oil in May via an independent pipeline, which links up with an Iraqi pipeline at the Turkish border to terminate at the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. More than 10 million barrels of oil have been shipped from the port since then, Turkey's energy minister said on Thursday.

Kurdish officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Iraqi oil ministry said MMS had declared false destinations for its tankers, turned off its ships' tracking systems to avoid detection and undertaken ship-to-ship transfers of oil on the high seas at night, a process it described as "dangerous".

One of MMS's tankers, the United Kalavrvta, has been anchored off the coast of Texas since July laden with $100 million worth of crude. Baghdad has threatened to sue anyone who buys the oil and has asked a U.S. court to seize the vessel's contents. A Texas court has said it lacks jurisdiction because the tanker is offshore.

Disputes over contested oil shipments are not uncommon.

Two years ago, two tankers holding oil from South Sudan were held up for months in Asia due to a dispute over oil revenues between Sudan and its landlocked neighbour South Sudan.

Sudan had seized the oil and loaded the consignments onto the tankers for what it called unpaid transit fees. The spat was resolved after both sides agreed that Sudan would pay back proceeds from the two oil shipments as well as reaching an accord over a metering system over oil exports.

(By Ahmed Rasheed and Jonathan Saul; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Michael Urquhart and Jane Baird)

Maritime Reporter August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Greek Coastguard Rescues 2,500 over Three Days

Greece's coastguard has rescued about 2,500 migrants and refugees off the country's eastern islands over the past three days, authorities said on Monday, as the

CMA CGM-led Consortium Win Box Terminal Bid

The consortium formed by CMA CGM, Bolloré and CHEC won the bid process initiated by the Cameroonian government Following the bidding procedure initiated by the Cameroonian government,

BIMCO Outlines LIS Week Schedule

BIMCO’s breakfast brief, titled “The Future Of Maritime Security” is aimed at CEOs and Directors who will have an opportunity to hear more on the latest threats

Tanker Trends

Strong Returns for Sovcomflot

Russia’s biggest shipping company PAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group) surpassed its own expectations and went forward on both revenue and net profit in the first six months.

CSDC Profts Soar

The bulker and tanker unit of state conglomerate China Shipping Group, China Shipping Development Co (CSDC) has delivered a first half performance which saw its profit spike,

Med Crude-Russian Urals Edges Lower in Med, Baltic

Russian Urals crude weakened in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic on Friday, while trading activity was limited ahead of a long holiday weekend in Britain, traders said.

Energy

Harkand: Expanding the Fleet, Growing a Global Business

International inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) company Harkand aims to be a $1 billion company. MR’s Tom Mulligan recently met with John Reed, the company’s CEO,

ME Production Receives Two Scrubber Orders

ME Production subsidiary Marine Exhaust Technology has been awarded a new contract for the DFDS vessel Finlandia sailing on the route Rosyth-Zeebrugge. The scrubber contract includes design,

HHI Orders Regasification Systems from Wärtsilä

South Korean shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has ordered two seawater/propane based regasification modules from Wärtsilä. The systems are to be installed

News

Historic WW I Shipwreck Survey Underway

Partnering U.S. agencies have commenced surveying the historic shipwreck of an American lightship shelled and sunk by a German U-boat during World War I nearly 100 years ago.

Bollinger VP Fanguy Snags SNAME Award

Louisiana-based shipbuilder Bollinger Shipyards, LLC announced its vice president for quality management system, Dennis Fanguy, will receive the 2015 William M.

Deal Reached to End MyFerryLink Dispute

A deal was reached on Monday to save hundreds of ferry jobs at the northern French port of Calais, the French transport minister said, ending a dispute that has

Middle East

Oman Drydock Company Expands Rapidly

Oman Drydock Company (ODC) is growing fast. In January, the yard hit an important milestone - its 300th drydocking. Harnessing the power of its new $1.8 billion, 1.

Iranian Ship, Crew Escape Captivity off Somali Coast

An Iranian fishing vessel and its crew have escaped after being held captive for five months by Somali fishermen, maritime piracy experts said on Friday, but it

Oil Steadies as Equities Rally

Recovering stock markets boost oil prices; U.S. crude on track for first weekly gain in nine weeks. Oil prices steadied on Friday after bouncing back from six-and-a-half-year

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2722 sec (4 req/sec)