BV to stop providing services to Iranian ships

BVlogoJUNE 7, 2012 — United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) has applauded classification society Bureau Veritas, for pledging to end its certification of Iranian shipping vessels, specifically those of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and the National Iranian Tanker Company ("NITC").

UANI contacted Bureau Veritas last week, noting that its certification activities were in violation of EU sanctions. UANI launched its Shipping Certification Campaign in early May.

Following subsequent consultations with UANI, Bureau Veritas pledged that it has "decided to disengage completely from all Marine activities related to Iran." Bureau Veritas assured UANI that this pledge specifically includes "all vessels of the IRISL and of its subsidiaries, irrespective of their flags," as well as all NITC vessels.

Said UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace:

"We applaud Bureau Veritas for ending its certification of Iranian vessels. We accept Bureau Veritas's pledge to end all of its marine activities related to Iran, and we thank the company's executives for taking this quick and responsible action.

"The international community must focus specifically on the shipping industry, to deny the Iranian regime access to global trade and seaborne crude oil exports. Aligned nations should prohibit all international cargo shippers that service Iranian ports from shipping to the U.S., EU and elsewhere. By cutting off Iran's shipping access, the world can further isolate the regime and hamper its nuclear program and support for terrorists.

"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. Aligned nations should prohibit international cargo shippers that service Iranian ports… from shipping to the U.S., EU and elsewhere."

Following is the text of UANI's May 30 letter to Bureau Veritas


May 30, 2012
 
Didier Michaud-Daniel
Chief Executive Officer
Bureau Veritas
67/71, Boulevard du Chateau

F-92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine
France
 
Re: Bureau Veritas and Iran
 
Dear Mr. Michaud-Daniel,
 
United Against Nuclear Iran ("UANI") is writing to express its concern about the certification services Bureau Veritas continues to provide to shipping vessels of Iran, specifically those of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines ("IRISL") and National Iranian Tanker Company ("NITC"). In so doing, Bureau Veritas helps Iran circumvent multilateral sanctions that have been imposed to prevent Iran from further developing its illegal nuclear weapons program. Bureau Veritas's Iran business also violates European Union sanctions that ban transactions with IRISL and the provision of ancillary services, including certification services that facilitate Iran's global oil trade. As part of its Shipping Certification Campaign, UANI is calling on Bureau Veritas to immediately end its irresponsible and illegal Iran business activities.  
 
Since the launch of UANI's campaign earlier this year, several shipping certification providers have ceased their Iran business activities. Several of these providers, including Lloyd's Register and Det Norske Veritas ("DNV") have specifically cited the risks of increasingly punitive EU and U.S. sanctions as well as the regime's pursuit of nuclear weapons and sponsorship of terrorism as reasons for their decision to leave Iran. In the past weeks, UANI also has received confirmation that the Polish Register of Shipping and the Croatian Register of Shipping, respectively, do not provide any certification services to Iranian vessels or Iranian companies.
 
Of particular concern to UANI is that Bureau Veritas appears to be quite comfortable filling the void left after the above-mentioned shipping certification providers made the responsible decision to withdraw from Iran. As a result, Bureau Veritas now provides certification to at least a dozen IRISL vessels. As for a few specific examples, Bureau Veritas assumed certification responsibilities for the ISI Olive after DNV withdrew its services in March of this year. Similarly, Bureau Veritas picked up certification services for the IRISL vessel Benita (formerly the Palmary), after Lloyd's Register withdrew its services.  
 
Bureau Veritas's irresponsible decision to increase its provision of certification services at a time when responsible businesses are leaving Iran undermines the efforts of the international community to isolate the Iranian regime and directly aids IRISL's deceptive and illegal activities. 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." (Reuters, "Special Report: Iran's Cat-and-Mouse Game on Sanctions," 2/15/12)
 
Bureau Veritas's Iran business activities with IRISL also violate EU sanctions imposed in response to IRISL's direct support of Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Moreover, Bureau Veritas undermines the efficacy of the EU embargo on Iranian crude oil by providing certification services to the regime's primary oil shipper, the NITC. Available data indicates that Bureau Veritas currently provides certification services for eleven of NITC's 39 tanker vessels. Prior to March, DNV provided certification services for these same vessels. Bureau Veritas's certification and inspections to NITC vessels and other Iranian crude oil tankers represent "ancillary contracts" necessary for the execution of the Iran's global oil trade. Such contracts will represent a violation of EU law when the EU embargo on Iranian crude oil goes into effect on July 1, 2012. Arguably, Bureau Veritas should be held accountable to withdraw certification services to any vessel worldwide that lifts Iranian crude, just as European insurance and reinsurance providers will no longer be able to cover vessels transporting Iranian oil.   
 
Bureau Veritas's continued work with Iran also imperils its extensive business in the United States and with the U.S. Government. According to USASPENDING.gov, Bureau Veritas has had nearly $23 million in contracts with the U.S. Government since 2000. On its website, Bureau Veritas also proudly touts being a contract holder for the General Services Administration ("GSA") of the U.S. Government. Bureau Veritas should also be aware of legislation that could directly impact its reputation and ability to work with the U.S. UANI is working to pass the proposed "Ethical Shipping Inspections Act" which was introduced by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Senator Susan Collins (R-MN) and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK). This 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."
 
In light of these concerns, UANI calls upon Bureau Veritas to follow the lead of other responsible members of the International Association of Classification Societies and end its provision of services to Iran, including services to Iranian vessels and Iran's oil and gas industry. It is not simply a question of Bureau Veritas violating U.S. and EU sanctions provisions, but of following a responsible course of action.  
 
There is clear evidence that the increase in pressure on Iran over the past few months has been a critical factor in getting Iran to return to the negotiating table. Now is not the time to let up, much less fill the vacuum left by other responsible competitors.
 
 Please let us hear from you by June 8, 2012 about Bureau Veritas's intentions with respect to its business in Iran. We look forward to your response.
 
 Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.
 
 
Very truly yours,
       
      Ambassador Mark D. Wallace
 
 
 
cc: The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman  
Chairman, United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs  
 
The Honorable Susan M. Collins  
Ranking Member, United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs  
 
The Honorable John Kerry  
Chairman, United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations  
 
The Honorable Richard Lugar  
Ranking Member, United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations  
 
The Honorable Mark Begich  
  United States Senate   
 
The Honorable Peter T. King  
Chairman, United States House Committee on Homeland Security  
 
The Honorable Bennie Thompson  
Ranking Member, United States House Committee on Homeland Security  
 
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen  
Chairman, United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs  
 
The Honorable Howard Berman  
Ranking Member, United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs  
 
The Honorable Howard P. McKeon
  Chairman, United States House Armed Services Committee
 
The Honorable Henry Waxman
 Ranking Member, United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce
 
The Honorable Steve Israel  
United States House of Representatives
 
 The Honorable Ted Deutch
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Nita Lowey
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Carolyn Maloney
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Gary Ackerman
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Rob Andrews
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Steve Chabot
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Gerry Connolly
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Henry Cueller
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Susan Davis
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Tim Griffin
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Jim Himes
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Kathy Hochul
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Rush Holt
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Jerry Nadler
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Bill Owens
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Ed Perlmutter
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Adam Schiff
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Betty Sutton
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Bob Turner
United States House of Representatives
 
The Honorable Michael McCaul
  United States House of Representatives   
 
The Honorable Leon E. Panetta  
Secretary of Defense, United States Department of Defense  
 
The Honorable David S. Cohen  
Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, United States Department of the Treasury
 
The Honorable Daniel M. Tangherlini
Administrator, General Services Administration  
 
 Baroness Catherine Ashton
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
 
 Karel De Gucht
  European Commissioner for Trade  
 
 Ambassador Francois Delattre
  Ambassador of France to the United States
 
 Andrew Hibbert
  General Counsel, Risks and Compliance, Bureau Veritas
 
 Phillipe Lanternier
  Industry and Facilities, Asia, Bureau Veritas
 
 Tony Mouawad
Industry and Facilities, Middle-East, India, Russia and Africa Areas, Bureau Veritas

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