India's IOC diverts oil cargoes ahead of cyclone

NEW DELHI, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Indian Oil Corp has diverted a tanker of Angolan crude to the high seas and shut a pipeline as cyclone Phailin heads for India's east coast, a company source said.

The cyclone is the fiercest to threaten India in fourteen years. Tens of thousands of residents in low-lying areas have fled their homes.

India's largest refiner has moved the very large crude carrier (VLCC) DHT Phoenix loaded with a million barrels of Saxi and Nemba crudes from the Paradip port, the source, who is not authorised to speak to media, told Reuters.

He said IOC also diverted the aframax tanker Desh Rakshak containing 87,097 tonnes or about 638,000 barrels of oil to Haldia after partially unloading it at Paradip port.

This aframax was carrying Mumbai High and Malaysia's Labuan crude, the source said.

"We have taken these steps as a precaution. We have closed the Paradip- Haldia pipeline for three days from today," this source said, adding the company has also shut its Single Buoy Mooring facility at the port.

IOC, along with subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corp, controls about 31 percent of India's oil refining capacity of 4.3 million bpd. (Reporting by Nidhi Verma, editing by William Hardy)