Tazama boss defends Iranian tanker oil quality

12Mar 2016
Finnigan wa Simbeye
The Guardian
Tazama boss defends Iranian tanker oil quality

PETROLEUM products aboard a Zanzibar registered Iranian tanker, MT Argo which arrived at Dar es Salaam port last week destined for Zambia will start being offloaded any day from now.

Tazama Pipeline

Tanzania Zambia Oil Pipeline (Tazama) Regional Manager, Abraham Saunyama said the petroleum products which include 41,505 metric tons of crude oil along with 38,762MT of gasoil and 9,891MT of naphtha meet specifications.

“Our agents, Intertek have confirmed that the fuel is within our specifications,” Saunyama said dismissing allegations that the consignment contains between 1 and 2 percent sulphur against Zambian regulations which limit sulphur to 0.5 percent.

Saunyama pointed out that the tanker products will start being offloaded at Dar es Salaam port anytime from today as the government has already paid the supplier, D&K Petroleum LLC through a letter of credit.

“We are just waiting for the supplier to verify the LC and then we proceed to offload the products,” the manager affirmed.

Another oil tanker, MT Alberta which brought similar products last January was rejected because it had higher chloride content hence declared ineligible.

“The chlorine damages our machines so we rejected the consignment which arrived in January,” Saunyama noted.

There was panic at the Dar es Salaam port last Thursday when MT Argo arrived with suspicious documents one showing that the oil was loaded in Iran while the other indicated it comes from the United Arab Emirates.

A bill of lading availed to this paper shows that the crude oil belongs to D&K Petroleum LLC and was loaded from Fujairah in the Emirates but a quality certificate indicated that the consignment was loaded from Iranian port of Bandar Mahshahr.

The South Korean tanker also caused jitters because it is 16 years old against the port’s 15 years mandatory age.

In Zambia, an anti-corruption watchdog has accused the government of engaging in corrupt dealings saying MT Argo’s fuel is completely out of the country’s specifications.

“Despite the good intentions by Tanzania to block Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) from ferrying contaminated oil from Iran, the Zambian government has pressed the Tanzanian authorities to release the dirty, illegal and substandard oil for the Zambian market,” said Zambia Watch in a statement.

According to the watchdog, now the same tanker carrying the dirty and illegal oil has reportedly been allowed to offload the fuel and be hauled to Zambia, its final destination.

It was further reported that the fuel on board this ship has very high sulphur content against both Tanzanian and Zambian laws but that would not deter the Zambian government from allowing the consignment for use.

This is despite the fact that Tanzanian government authorities reported that the product, which has 10,000 parts per million of sulphur content, does not meet Zambian specifications either, raising the possibility of some crooked local importers being behind the consignment.

A few days ago it was reported in the Zambian media that the Zambian government and Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) of Kuwait loaded illegal and dirty crude oil possibly from the black market in Iran using forged documents then tried to mislead the world that the oil was legitimately purchased from the Emirates.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary General has said Iran can ship and sell its oil in the world because its sanctions were lifted last year.

In a statement while responding to The Guardian’s questions, Sunil Narula said sanctions were lifted last year.

“In the current political atmosphere in the Middle East region, and so soon after the positive news of the lifting of sanctions against Iran, the Secretary-General calls on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to act with moderation, caution and the good sense not to increase tensions through any hasty actions,” Narula said in a statement which was issued the SG then.

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