Continuing its Shipping Certification Campaign, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) on Wednesday called on Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) to stop certifying Iranian vessels.
The prominent shipping services Bureau Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, and ClassNK recently stopped certifying Iranian vessels in response to UANI, however RS is increasingly providing certification and other maritime services to Iranian vessels, including those owned by sanctioned Iranian entities.
Over the past year, RS has provided certification services to at least a dozen vessels that are owned, operated, and managed by sanctioned subsidiaries and front companies of the Iranian regime.
In a letter sent this week to Mikhail G. Ayvazov, RS’s CEO, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:
“By providing these services, RS is directly facilitating the ability of the Iranian government to circumvent multilateral sanctions that have been imposed to prevent it from further developing its illegal nuclear weapons program.
Over the past year, RS has provided shipping certification services to at least 12 Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (“IRISL”) vessels. More disturbing is the evidence indicating that RS is taking over services once provided by the aforementioned firms that recently left Iran. RS should be aware that a number of the ships it certifies or provides other maritime services to are owned, operated and managed by sanctioned IRISL subsidiaries and front companies, including the Andulena Corp., Auris Marine, Hafiz Darya Shipping Co., IranoHind Shipping Co., IRISL Marine Services & Engineering Company, Khazar Sea Shipping Lines, Rahbaran Omid Darya Ship Management Co., and Sapid Shipping Co. Other disturbing examples abound as well, including the certification coverage RS provides for the MT Tour, an IRISL oil tanker which has been central to helping Syria circumvent U.S. and EU sanctions against Syria’s oil industry by buying and transporting Syrian crude to its customers. UANI is also troubled by reports that since 2009 RS has maintained a joint venture with Iran’s Asia Classification Society and that RS has plans to open a branch in Iran.
The irresponsible decision by RS to continue doing business with Iran, in particular by filling the vacuum left by other companies, undermines efforts of the international community to isolate the Iranian regime and directly aids IRISL’s deceptive and illegal activities. It can hardly be lost upon RS that Iran engages in such deception as it is well publicized. For example, according to a Reuters report in February 2012, since sanctions were imposed, IRISL has engaged in 878 changes to its fleet, “including 157 name changes, 94 changes of flag, 122 changes of operator, and 127 changes of registered ownership.”
UANI has highlighted the shipping industry as an area where the international community can further pressure Iran. In a March 17 Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, six UANI board members wrote that “the world must deny Iran’s access to international shipping, a move that would severely affect the regime given its dependence on global trade and seaborne crude oil exports.”
UANI has requested a reply from RS by August 22.
Source: UANI, August 16, 2012