‘S Korea near deal to sell Iran 10 ships’

Press TV- Reports coming out of South Korea suggest that Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., a major shipyard in the Asian country, is set to seal a deal to sell Iran 10 ships.

The contract, valued at USD650 million, will see Hyundai supply the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, (IRISL) with four 14,400 TEU container ships and six 50,000 DWT product tankers, the Korea Herald reported on Saturday.

The vessels are expected to be delivered to Iran in the third quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s largest news agency Yonhap reported that Hyundai officials were cautious about the matter.

“(We) are in consultations (with the Iranian side on the possible contract) but it’s not decided yet,” an unnamed Hyundai official was quoted as saying.

If concluded, the deal will be Iran’s first contract with a foreign shipbuilder since the removal of the US-led sanctions against the country over its nuclear energy program.

IRISL, which operates 158 container vessels, was among a number of companies sanctioned over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

It is seen as Iran’s number one shipping operator and the 22nd largest shipping line in the world.

Iran has already unveiled plans to modernize its aging shipping fleet to handle increasing trade cargo during the post-sanctions era.

Tehran has also been seeking to increase its oil tanker fleet as the country plans to increase crude production to pre-sanctions output level of 4,000 barrels per day.