SHIPPING | IRISL crew stranded at Antwerp in sanctions row

European banks refuse to honour Iranian P&I club’s guarantee out of fear they may be breaking the law

LLOYD’S LIST

AROUND 60 crew were running out of food and water today after their vessels were arrested in the port of Antwerp as a result of European Union sanctions against Iran.

The ships’ agent said he could not deliver cash to the masters of the breakbulk vessels controlled by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines without authorisation from the Belgian finance ministry, which said it first needed to consult with other EU member states.

The two vessels, the 15,670 gt Garland and the 16,694 gt Lavender, were running low on provisions, said independent Antwerp agent Eiffe.

“This is not a good situation,” said Eiffe manager Werner Bogart. “If we have permission we can contract a ship’s chandler and give cash to the master and we will do so straight away.”

The Belgian ministry reportedly said it could take up to 14 days to reply.

The vessels, thought to be among the first victims of the Iran sanctions, were not specifically targeted by the Belgian authorities but became caught up in a cargo claim.

The ships’ cargo of steel for European interests is understood to have suffered sea water damage and therefore underwent a standard survey upon arrival.

Complications arose when it was discovered that the P&I club insurer was Iranian. European banks have reportedly held back from accepting the club’s guarantee out of fear that they may be breaking the law.

The EU Iran sanctions published at the end of August impose a blanket ban on insurers and banks doing business with Iran, Iranian companies, individuals and their intermediaries.

EU sanctions have come in several waves and have specifically mentioned IRISL in the past. The regulation of July this year stated that “the obligation to freeze economic resources of designated entities of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines does not require the impounding or detention of vessels owned by such entities or the cargoes carried by them insofar as such cargoes belong to third parties, nor does it require the detention of the crew contracted by them.”

Sanctions have nevertheless created confusion within both the transport and insurance industries. Uncertainty remains over their implementation. This has stemmed from the fact that sanctions were drawn up by foreign affairs officials without industry consultation. Not even the European Commission’s transport ministry was consulted.

Question marks remain over issues such as the requirement for pre-arrival and pre-departure information for Iranian imports and exports. Without clarity shipping lines are concerned they could face penalties even if they are unaware, as is often the case, of the contents of containers they are carrying.

Lavender and Garland are listed by Lloyd’s List intelligence as Maltese-flagged. Sapid Shipping of Iran is given as the beneficial owner.

Volunteers, possibly religious bodies, are thought to have been delivering emergency supplies to the ships, said Mr Bogart.

European banks refuse to honour Iranian P&I club’s guarantee out of fear they may be breaking the law

AROUND 60 crew were running out of food and water today after their vessels were arrested in the port of Antwerp as a result of European Union sanctions against Iran.

The ships’ agent said he could not deliver cash to the masters of the breakbulk vessels controlled by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines without authorisation from the Belgian finance ministry, which said it first needed to consult with other EU member states.

The two vessels, the 15,670 gt Garland and the 16,694 gt Lavender, were running low on provisions, said independent Antwerp agent Eiffe.

“This is not a good situation,” said Eiffe manager Werner Bogart. “If we have permission we can contract a ship’s chandler and give cash to the master and we will do so straight away.”

The Belgian ministry reportedly said it could take up to 14 days to reply.

The vessels, thought to be among the first victims of the Iran sanctions, were not specifically targeted by the Belgian authorities but became caught up in a cargo claim.

The ships’ cargo of steel for European interests is understood to have suffered sea water damage and therefore underwent a standard survey upon arrival.

Complications arose when it was discovered that the P&I club insurer was Iranian. European banks have reportedly held back from accepting the club’s guarantee out of fear that they may be breaking the law.

The EU Iran sanctions published at the end of August impose a blanket ban on insurers and banks doing business with Iran, Iranian companies, individuals and their intermediaries.

EU sanctions have come in several waves and have specifically mentioned IRISL in the past. The regulation of July this year stated that “the obligation to freeze economic resources of designated entities of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines does not require the impounding or detention of vessels owned by such entities or the cargoes carried by them insofar as such cargoes belong to third parties, nor does it require the detention of the crew contracted by them.”

Sanctions have nevertheless created confusion within both the transport and insurance industries. Uncertainty remains over their implementation. This has stemmed from the fact that sanctions were drawn up by foreign affairs officials without industry consultation. Not even the European Commission’s transport ministry was consulted.

Question marks remain over issues such as the requirement for pre-arrival and pre-departure information for Iranian imports and exports. Without clarity shipping lines are concerned they could face penalties even if they are unaware, as is often the case, of the contents of containers they are carrying.

Lavender and Garland are listed by Lloyd’s List intelligence as Maltese-flagged. Sapid Shipping of Iran is given as the beneficial owner.

Volunteers, possibly religious bodies, are thought to have been delivering emergency supplies to the ships, said Mr Bogart.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “SHIPPING | IRISL crew stranded at Antwerp in sanctions row

  1. sir iwarker him irisl ab jop

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