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Iran tanker operator delays oil fleet expansion

Iran's largest commercial tanker operator NITC has delayed the expansion of its oil fleet, company and industry sources said, as Western sanctions on the Opec member's crude exports and a weak freight market hurt its ability to turn a profit, Reuters has reported. Iranian tankers will be the main transporters of Iran's crude to its two top importers, China and India, once the sanctions come into effect next Sunday. A senior NITC official said the firm has yet to take delivery of a 318,000 deadweight tonne tanker named "Safe", the first of 12 new supertankers the firm will manage under a $1.2bn contract with Chinese shipyards. Delivery was initially scheduled for May. "Delivery has been delayed because of the market. The market is not attractive for any ship owner," the NITC official said.