1228 GMT April 04, 2020
The head of the Port and Maritime Organization of Iran (PMO) said that contracts for building 40 ships had already been awarded to the Defense Ministry and that preparations were underway to sign deals for 43 other vessels, Press TV reported.
Mohammad Rastad did not elaborate on any timetable for delivery of the ships but said they would be totally built in shipyards in Iran, using domestic expertise and capability.
The official said the vessels would mainly add capacity to Iran’s passenger shipping services in the Persian Gulf and in the Sea of Oman, adding that they would replace older ships that have been removed from the country’s fleet in the region as part of a modernization program.
Rastad also touched upon a reported shortage in low-sulfur bunker fuel for Iranian ships, saying local refineries were currently producing only a third of the country’s needs for the fuel.
That comes nearly two months after an international maritime watchdog enacted bans on the use of high-sulfur fuel by ships due to environmental concerns.
Rastad said Iranian ships need around 1.5 million tons of low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) each year, of which around 500,000 tons are currently produced in Shazand refinery in central Iran.
“With this size of output, we have managed to weather the crisis phase but we need to reach the full required LSFO capacity through using the technical expertise and domestic production capability,” said the official.
The PMO chief said that the body would deploy and test two modern suction dredger ships in southern Iran in the near future, saying the move would greatly enhance Iran’s current dredging capacity in ports and other facilities.