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MEOG: Iraq continues tanker fleet expansion

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil (MoO) has announced plans to continue building out the country’s fleet of the Iraqi Oil Tanker Co. (IOTC), following the addition of two new Norwegian-built units.

MoO spokesman Asim Jihad, told the Iraqi News Agency (INA): “The Ministry of Oil seeks to strengthen the fleet [of] the national carrier with a number of tankers, and recently two tankers entered the commercial business, implemented by [a specialised] Norwegian company.”

Jihad stressed that “the Ministry’s plans will not stop there”, noting that it would “seek to strengthen contracts with reputable international companies to enhance the work of [IOTC], which is the national carrier of crude oil and its products.”

He pointed out that “Iraq’s main export ports are the southern ports represented by the port of Basra, the single buoys, and the port of Al-Amaya, in addition to the northern port, which is the Turkish port of Ceyhan,” with the south route accounting for the lion’s share of exports.

In a bid to transform its operations, the state-owned IOTC took a significant step in 2020 by partnering with Norway’s Batservice Mandal to construct the 31,000 dwt Sumer and Akkad vessels.

Built in China, Sumer was received in September and Akkad began its journey to Basra in early December. Both vessels are part of Iraq’s efforts to revitalise IOTC, with an aim to rebuild a fleet once comprising over 20 tankers.