Shipowners reluctant to load oil products at Italian ports due to coronavirus

Some shipowners in the West of Suez clean tanker market are now declining to pick up cargoes from Italian ports in fear of having to enter a quarantine period as a result, reports Platts.

So far, few known quarantines have been placed on vessels leaving Italy, with Novorossiisk the only port that has said it will not accept vessels for 14 days vessels that have just discharged in Italy.

Nevertheless, concern at the increasing number of deaths in Italy has led to a fear that such exclusions might spread. One shipowner told Platts that they were not loading in Italy unless at a sharp premium to the market, which was deterring charterers who want to pass on costs.

Another shipowner argued said that disregarding Italian shipments altogether would have ramifications. “We have yet to encounter rejections for our vessels, but the market can’t avoid Italy altogether — this makes for half of loading and discharge in the Mediterranean,” the shipowner said.

A shipbroker forecast that vessels recently discharged ex-Italy would likely pursue cabotage shipments across Italy until cargoes are exhausted, in which case owners would accept a potential quarantine of 14 days before reintegrating into the market.

Pilotage is reportedly only operating in daylight in France, while, in Spain, shipping agents Alfaship said that loading and discharge operations at ports would continue, despite the country being in lockdown.