JULY 6, 2012 — While both Germanischer Lloyd and Bureau Veritas have heeded calls to join other classification societies in denying services to sanctioned Iranian shipping companies IRISL and NITC and their front companies, South Korea's Korean Register of Shipping (KR) appears to be dithering.
On June 25, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) wrote Korean Register Chairman & CEO Oh Kong-gyun asking that the society stop providing certification services to the Iranian companies. While other societies have responded promptly to such request from UANI, not so KR.
The letter noted that, according to its pubicly accessible Register of Ships, KRS is providing classification services to 17 vessels managed by an IRISL front company, Rahbaran Omid Darya Ship Management Company (ROD) a.k.a. Soroush Sarzamin Asatir Ship Management. ROD was sanctioned by the U.S. and EU in June and July 2010.
Even though South Korea this month joined the nation's embargoing Iranian crude, Reuters reports a spokesman as saying "KR is concerned that there is a potential for ship safety and the protection of the marine environment to be compromised by political issues."
The spokesman added "KR is taking this situation extremely seriously and is considering all the available alternatives. It will continue, at all times, to comply with national and international regulations."
UANI commented that it is "both concerned and certain that KR is placing the short-term profits of those that benefit from its services, specifically the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guards Council], before the united will of the international community. It is ironic that KR would describe an effort to enforce international sanctions against Iran as 'political,' at the same time it is mischaracterizing its business decisions as public safety measures. KR needs to end the political gamesmanship, and stop helping the Iranian regime bypass international sanctions."