India shipping official orders recall of offshore supply vessels
The Directorate of Shipping in India has ordered the country's biggest oil exporter, Oil and Natural Gas Corp., to recall 27 of its 46 offshore supply vessels for immediate safety audits, the Business Standard reported Friday.
The order comes after an ONGC ship, chartered to Singapore-based Sical, sunk off of Mumbai earlier this month. Most of ONGC's ships are chartered to companies that are involved in production and maintenance of India's largest oil field, the offshore Bombay High. ONGC Chairman R.S. Sharma told the newspaper that his company is working out a contingency plan to give its shipping contract to the Shipping Corp. of India while the audits are undertaken to avoid a major production disruption.
The contingency plan would only go into effect if any of the 27 vessels fail the safety inspection. Sixteen of the ships are chartered to Sical and the other 11 to HAL. The recalls could take as long as three months and some are expecting production to take a hit even if they pass inspection, since there is a shortage of offshore supply vessels.