UANI Launches Shipping Certification Campaign, Calls on IACS to Stop Certifying Iranian, IRISL Vessels

May 11, 2012
Contact: Nathan Carleton,
[email protected]
(212) 554-3296

UANI Launches Shipping Certification Campaign, Calls on IACS to Stop Certifying Iranian, IRISL Vessels

New York, NY - On Friday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) launched its Shipping Certification Campaign, calling on members of the International Association of Classification Societies ("IACS") to stop certifying Iranian vessels and drilling rigs.

Members of the London-based IACS enable the Iranian regime to maintain its access to global maritime trade and circumvent multilateral sanctions. Many also provide services to vessels of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines ("IRISL"), an entity sanctioned by the UN, U.S. and EU.

In a letter sent this week to Pavel Shikhov, Chairman of the IACS Council, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace wrote:

As you know, IACS's certification services function as "seals of approval" for Iranian vessels. IACS certification therefore enables the Iranian regime to maintain its access to global maritime trade and circumvent multilateral sanctions via its ships, carriers and vessels. Iran's track-record of illicit shipping activities, including nuclear proliferation and arms smuggling, illustrates the fact that certification firms assume enormous liability when engaging in Iranian business. Given these concerns, it is incumbent on all firms to cease the provision of certification services to all Iranian vessels.

For example, IACS members openly provide certification services to IRISL, Iran's national maritime carrier. IRISL was first sanctioned by the U.S. in September 2008 for its activities in support of the regime's ballistic missile and nuclear programs. (U.S. Treasury Department, "Major Iranian Shipping Company Designated for Proliferation Activity," 9/10/08) The UN and EU soon followed with their own sanctions in June 2010 and July 2010, respectively. (United Nations Security Council, "Resolution 1929," 6/9/10; European Union, "Regulation No. 668/2010," 7/26/10) Additionally, IRISL routinely engages in deceptive practices to conceal its activities and evade sanctions. 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." (Reuters, "Special Report: Iran's cat-and-mouse game on sanctions," 2/15/12) By providing IRISL vessels certification services, IACS is directly aiding and abetting such deceptive and illegal activities.

In light of these concerns UANI is launching a global "Shipping Certification Campaign" to call on all classification societies, including IACS, to instruct its members to cease the provision of certification or inspection services to all Iranian vessels. Such restrictions should remain in place until Iran ends its illegal nuclear weapons program, sponsorship of terrorism throughout the world, and egregious human rights abuses.

UANI understands that three of IACS's thirteen members, the American Bureau of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas, and Lloyd's Register, have responded to the concerns of the international community and taken the responsible action of ending certification of Iranian vessels. IACS should reinforce the responsible actions of these members and formally adopt a policy stating that all members should no longer provide certification services for Iranian vessels.

More broadly, UANI seeks a commitment from IACS and its members to cease the provision of certification services to all vessels docking in Iranian ports. These reasons are two-fold. First, Iran has a long track record of intentionally misleading international shipping companies and providing false cargo manifests. UANI has compiled a report of nine known incidents since January 2009 in which cargo either going to or from Iran contained military equipment or armaments in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. ...


Given that Tidewater Middle East Co. ("Tidewater") controls Iran's cargo port facilities, it is imperative that shipping-related companies or service providers follow suit. Tidewater is owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ("IRGC"), a known terrorist entity. ...

UANI also informed IACS that it is working to help pass the "Ethical Shipping Inspections Act" which has been introduced by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Senator Susan Collins (R-MN) and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK). The legislation "would prohibit the U.S. from delegating representative authority to classification societies that simultaneously conduct inspection, certification, and related services for Iran, North Korea, North Sudan, or Syria."

UANI has requested a response from IACS by May 18, 2012.

Click here to read UANI's full letter to IACS.
Click here to send a message to IACS.