An oil tanker carrying a cargo of disputed Sudanese crude is awaiting permission to dock at Japan’s Kiire terminal because of uncertainty surrounding the ownership of the oil, sources said on Monday.
The Ratna Shradha, which is owned by India Steamship, has been anchored off southwest Japan since Feb. 14, sources said.
South Sudanese authorities had said the Ratna Shradha was loaded with 600,000 barrels of oil in Sudan provided by Khartoum-based oil producer Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company between Jan.19-20.
South Sudan claims the crude oil was seized and sold by its neighbor and former civil war foe, Sudan. The two countries are at loggerheads over a host of issues including transit fees, which Khartoum is demanding from landlocked South Sudan for the movement of its crude to the Port of Sudan.
“(The) Ratna Shradha is still drifting out at sea, waiting to berth at Kiire. She is coming to Japan to discharge,” said a shipping industry source involved in the matter.
The docking schedule for this week did not have the Ratna Shradha unloading, he added, indicating that the ship may only be able to dock next week at the earliest.
India Steamship, a unit of Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd., declined to comment.
Trafigura, the world's third largest oil trader, bought one cargo of the Nile Blend grade crude loaded aboard the vessel, industry sources familiar with the transaction said, and is now in a legal dispute over ownership.