Continuing its Shipping Certification Campaign, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) on Wednesday called on the China Classification Society (CCS) to stop certifying Iranian vessels.
CCS reportedly surveys tankers of the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), and has provided certification coverage to the NITC’s Darab and Justice vessels.
The prominent shipping services Bureau Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, the Korean Register of Shipping, and ClassNK all recently stopped certifying Iranian vessels in response to UANI. CCS stands out as an outlier among certification services.
In a letter sent this week to Sun Licheng, Chairman & President of CCS, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:
United Against Nuclear Iran (“UANI”) is writing to express its concern about China Classification Society’s (“CCS”) business activities with Iran. By providing certification and other maritime services to Iranian vessels owned by sanctioned entities, CCS is directly facilitating the ability of the Iranian regime to circumvent multilateral sanctions that have been imposed to prevent it from further developing its illegal nuclear weapons program.
All told, of the thirteen members of IACS, CCS appears to be the sole irresponsible outlier that continues to provide certification services to the Iranian regime.
In June 2012, for example, The Wall Street Journal reported that CCS “surveys some of NITC’s tankers, according to shipping database Equasis.” Until recently, Equasis reported that CCS provided certification coverage to the Darab and Justice, two vessels of the National Iranian Tanker Company (“NITC”). Please confirm whether or not CCS continues to provide maritime services to these NITC vessels or any others.
CCS may also run afoul of U.S. law if it maintains its business activity with Iran. For example, in August 2012, the U.S. signed into law the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (“ITRA”). This new law specifically targets shipping and related services. Section 201 of the ITRA, for example, imposes sanctions on any “person [that] is a controlling beneficial owner of, or otherwise owns, operates, or controls, or insures, a vessel that…was used to transport crude oil from Iran to another country.” Separately, Section 211 of the ITRA levies sanctions any person that “knowingly sells, leases, or provides a vessel or provides insurance or reinsurance or any other shipping service for the transportation to or from Iran of goods that could materially contribute to the activities of the Government of Iran with respect to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or support for acts of international terrorism.”
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 by October 8, 2012.
UANI, October 4, 2012