UANI asks Germanischer Lloyd to stop classing Iranian ships

gl-flagJUNE 14, 2012 — United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is calling on Hamburg headquartered classification society Germanischer Lloyd (GL) to stop certifying Iranian shipping vessels, specifically those of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC).

UANI has highlighted the shipping industry as an area where the international community can further pressure Iran. On June 6, Bureau Veritas promised to end its certifying of Iranian vessels in response to a request from UANI (see earlier story).

UANI asserts that GL's Iran business violates EU sanctions that ban both transactions with IRISL and the provision of ancillary services, including certification services that facilitate Iran's global oil trade. According to data gathered by UANI, GL currently provides certification to several IRISL vessels, as well as to at least eight vessels of the regime's primary oil shipper, NITC.

In a June 12 letter to GL Chairman of the Executive Board Erik van der Noordaa, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, explained how GL's activities are in clear violation of EU sanctions imposed against IRISL and Iran's oil trade, and also could run afoul of U.S. law, given GL's extensive contract work with the U.S. government.

Following is the text of the letter:

June 12, 2012
 
Erik van der Noordaa

Chairman of the Executive Board
Germanischer Lloyd SE
Brooktorkai 18 20457 Hamburg Germany
 
Re: Germanischer Lloyd SE and Iran
 
Dear Mr. van der Noordaa,
 
United Against Nuclear Iran (“UANI”) is writing to express its concern about the certification services Germanischer Lloyd SE (“GL”) 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, GL helps Iran circumvent multilateral sanctions that have been imposed to prevent Iran from further developing its illegal nuclear weapons program. GL’s 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 GL 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. Most recently, French provider Bureau Veritas, which had extensively serviced IRISL and NITC vessels, ceased all marine activities related to Iran following a public campaign by UANI.  
 
GL’s irresponsible decision to provide 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)
GL’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. According to data gathered by UANI, GL is currently providing services to several IRISL vessels. Moreover, GL undermines the efficacy of the EU embargo on Iranian crude oil by providing certification services to the regime’s primary oil shipper, the NITC. According to data gathered by UANI, GL is currently providing services to at least eight NITC vessels. These services provided to NITC vessels and other Iranian crude oil tankers represent “ancillary contracts” necessary for the execution of 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, GL 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.    
 
GL’s continued work with Iran also imperils its extensive business in the United States and with the U.S. Government. According to USASPENDING.gov, GL has received over $200,000 in contracts with the U.S. Government since 2000. Other GL business segments, such as GL Noble Denton (oil and gas) as well as GL Garrad Hassan (renewables), have also been awarded U.S. government contracts. GL should also be aware of legislation that could directly impact its reputation and ability to work with the U.S. government. 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.” Specifically, this would imperil GL’s prized and lucrative relationship of provisioning maritime services to the U.S. Coast Guard.  
 
In light of these concerns, UANI calls upon GL 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 GL 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 neither the time to let up, nor the time to fill the vacuum left by other responsible competitors.
 
 Please let us hear from you by June 18, 2012 about GL’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 Peter Ammon
  Ambassador of Germany to the United States
 
 Pekka Paasivaara
  Member of the Executive Board, Industrial Services, Germanischer Lloyd SE
 
 Dr. Joachim Segatz
  Member of the Executive Board, Financial Division, Germanischer Lloyd SE

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