Two Oil Tankers Companies Halt New Bookings In Persian Gulf Following Recent Attack On Tankers

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A support vessel flying an Iranian national flag sails alongside the oil tanker ‘Devon’ as it prepares to transport crude oil to export markets. IMAGE: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg

DHT Holdings and Heidmar, two of the biggest oil tankers operators in the world, have suspended new bookings to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf following the recent attack on two oil tankers in Gulf of Oman, three ship brokers told Reuters on June 14.

One of the sources told the news agency that the two companies had suspended offerings for their Suezmax vessels. Suezman is a naval architecture term for the largest ship measurements capable of transiting the Suez Canal in a laden condition.

DHT, based in Hamilton, Bermuda, has a fleet of 18 crude tankers including 14 very large crude carriers (VLCC), while Heidmar manages 65 oil tankers on behalf of ship owners.

The June 13 attack on Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair and Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous led to serious material loses for the ships operators. However, the crews of both tankers were rescued.

U.S. President Donald Trump held Iran responsible for the attack following the release of a video by the U.S. Army Central Command showing Iranian service members removing what is believed to be an exploded limpet mine from one of the tankers.

Other companies may follow the footsteps of DHT and Heidmar, especially if the attacks on oil tankers continue. Such a development would likely lead to the growth of oil prices. Iran is one of the key oil exporters. So, this could damage Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.

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