India bans US-sanctioned Iranian ships from entering its water New Delhi: India has banned US-sanctioned Iranian ships from entering its water, impacting crude oil imports from the nation's fourth oil largest supplier. The government had in early July allowed import of crude oil from Iran in ships arranged by Tehran after European sanctions evaporated insurance cover to domestic shippers. It had allowed Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) and other state refiners to import oil from Iran on CIF (cost, insurance and freight) basis -- wherein Tehran was to arrange for ships and insurance. But within days, it revoked the permission and MRPL, the nation's largest importer of Iranian oil, could barely land a cargo from Tehran. "We were to import four tankers or cargoes of about 90,000 tonne each from Iran in July. But we could only get one as the CIF approval was withdrawn," MRPL Managing Director P P Upadhya told reporters here. US has sanctioned National Iranian Tanker Co and its 58 vessels -- some of which have been reflagged in other nations to evade international sanctions, in its campaign to curtail Iran's oil sales until it abandons illicit aspects of its disputed nuclear program. MRPL had in 2011-12 contracted 7.3 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran but imported only 6.2 million tonnes as India cut imports from Persian Gulf nation to win a waiver from US sanctions. This year, it plans to import just 5 million tonnes. "While India has won waiver from US sanctions for its import of crude oil from Iran, shipping is not covered in that," MRPL Director (Finance) Vishnu Agrawal said. Crude oil imports from Iran are possible only if state insurers led by General Insurance Corp (GIC) provides insurance cover for domestic ships carrying Iran crude, he said expecting a resolution to the crisis within next few days. GIC has agreed to provide domestic ships a USD 50 million of cover for hull and machinery (H&M) and a similar cover for protection and indemnity (P&I) but this has been delayed as the insurance regulator has not yet given its approval. Upadhya said MRPL had imported 1.2 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran so far this fiscal beginning April 1. The company has more than doubled its purchase of oil from spot market to make up for shortfall from Iran. It now buys up to 3 cargoes or shiploads every month instead of one earlier. It has this year started buying oil from Iraq after signing an annual contract for 11,000 barrels per day or just over 0.5 million tonnes. It buys 2.5 million tonnes on term contract from Saudi Arabia and another 2 million tonnes from Abu Dhabi.