CPC Taiwan estimates losses from Sea of Oman tanker at NT$8 million

Norwegian-owned tanker carried two-day supply of naphtha for Taiwan

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The Front Altair after the fire (photo courtesy of Frontline)

The Front Altair after the fire (photo courtesy of Frontline) (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – State oil refiner CPC Corporation, Taiwan said Friday (June 14) it estimated losses after insurance payments from the burning of a tanker in the Sea of Oman at NT$8 million (US$254,000), though it hastened to add that as an isolated incident, the loss would not affect oil prices.

The 800-foot oil tanker Front Altair was on its way from Qatar to Taiwan Thursday when it was struck some 25 miles from Iran. The crew was rescued, but 75,000 tons of flammable naphtha was lost. There were still conflicting reports about whether a torpedo or mines were responsible for the explosions, but the vessel had reportedly not sunk as previously reported.

In Taipei Friday, CPC Vice President Chiu Chia-shou (邱家守) said the Taiwanese company had spent US$34 million (NT$1.07 billion) on the oil product, but because the whole cargo was insured, in the end the incident would result in a loss of only NT$8 million, which he described as a limited amount, according to the Central News Agency.

International oil prices rose immediately following the reported attack, but they later fell back again, Chiu said, adding that the ship was not Taiwanese, so the island country had not been the target. The Front Altair was owned by a Norwegian company and flagged in the Marshall Islands.

The amount of naphtha on board the ship was only good for two days, while CPC still had enough in storage for 75 days, Chiu told reporters, adding that if necessary, the oil company could also reduce the amount it sold to overseas customers.