Canada orders oil tanker to be seized

The Canadian federal court has ordered the seizure of a 721,915-barrel cargo of crude from the oil tanker Neverland (IMO 9247390) at the request of the Iraq Oil Ministry, according to court documents, reports Reuters. Iraq claims the cargo was unlawfully misappropriated by the Kurdistan Regional Government and sold to commodity trading house Vitol SA to be loaded onto the Neverland. The Iraq Oil Ministry has also filed a claim against Vitol and subsidiaries, including Mansel Ltd, the charterer of the ship, and affiliate Finaval SpA di Navigazione, the owner of the ship, for $32.5m.

The court action is part of a long-running feud between the federal government in Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government over who has the right to export and market crude from Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous part of Iraq. Neverland loaded in Ceyhan in Turkey. The Iraq Oil Ministry said in its filing that it had advised Vitol before it bought the cargo that any purchase of crude from the Kurdistan Regional Government would violate the rights of the people of Iraq. The filing alleges that Vitol has refused demands to discharge the cargo into the control of the Iraq Oil Ministry. The documents were signed and dated in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Iraq has asked that the case be tried in that province.

2003-built, Italy-flagged, 56,346 gt Neverland is owned and managed by Finaval SpA of Castelnovo di Sotto RE, Italy. It is entered with Standard P&I Club on behalf of Finaval SpA.