Ports in China’s oil hub Shandong are checking old tanker sources Ship’s crew


SINGAPORE, June 5 (Reuters) – Ports in China’s Shandong province are demanding more detailed information on oil tankers more than 15 years old calling at their terminals, sources with knowledge of the matter said, possibly delaying unloading of crude shipments by the world’s largest oil importer.

Last week, the maritime security authorities in Qingdao and Rizhao, which include the oil terminals at Lanshan Port, asked shipping agencies to provide information on the age of their ships, the ship’s flag location, insurance coverage and any cases in which the Schiff found the company had changed its name and ownership over the past 36 months, as well as previous inspection records, said a shipper and two traders who handle Chinese oil imports.

Due to the sensitivity of the matter, the sources have not been cited.

The shipper said the details are all new requirements that security agencies had not previously requested. The new paperwork must be submitted five days before a ship’s arrival, the sources said.

According to Kpler, Qingdao and Lanshan are among the top five Chinese oil import ports. Delays at these terminals may disrupt Chinese refineries, which are expected to ramp up their fuel production as the country recovers from COVID restrictions in 2022. Shandong is home to numerous independent refineries, known as teapots, accounting for up to a fifth of China’s processing capacity.

The Shandong Maritime Safety Administration told Reuters that it has not specified any special inspection requirements for tankers beyond the applicable regulations and international conventions.

The ports of Qingdao and Rizhao did not respond to requests for comment sent on Friday.

According to the sources, port authorities could detain ships for days to fix any problems, prompting shippers to divert cargo to other Chinese ports.

One of the sources said authorities are wary of possible incidents like the oil spill resulting from a ship collision near Qingdao in 2021.

The new requirements also follow the inspection of the supertanker Titan by the Qingdao Maritime Safety Administration in April, which found more than a dozen deficiencies on board, according to the Tokyo MoU and the public shipping database Equasis.

According to Refinitiv Eikon, the 20-year-old Titan is a Cameroon-flagged, very large crude oil carrier capable of carrying up to 2 million barrels of oil and operated by Seapalm Shipping Ltd. based in the Seychelles. Seapalm was unavailable for comment.

Almost all tankers transporting crude oil to Qingdao for independent refineries are more than a decade old, said Vortexa analyst Emma Li.

“Chinese port authorities have realized after the recent incidents that the old tankers have serious defects and insufficient insurance, which may pose problems for the environment and port operations,” she said.

The average wait time for a tanker in Qingdao rose to more than two days on Sunday, compared with less than a day a week ago, data from Refinitiv Eikon showed.

Tankers unable to provide the necessary documents may divert to ports in other nearby provinces such as Jiangsu, Hebei or Liaoning, the shipowner said, as documentation requirements are limited to Shandong.

In April, tankers calling at Shandong ports were delayed after customs officials stepped up inspections of diluted bitumen cargo.

(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Florence Tan and Christian Schmollinger)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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