Russian shipping register follows UN Security Council resolution, ends work with Iranian companies

The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS), the entity in charge of ship certification and inspection, has decided to terminate work with Iranian shipping companies and suspended the activities of its inspector in Iran.

RS based its decision on a United Nations Security Council resolution. There was no pressure from U.S. non-governmental organization United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), RS told Interfax.

According to the UN Security Council resolution, companies must "exercise vigilance when doing business with entities incorporated in Iran or subject to Iran's jurisdiction, including those of the IRGC and IRISL [Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines], and any individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, and entities owned or controlled by them, including through illicit means, if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that such business could contribute to Iran's proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems or to violations of resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) or this resolution."

"In cases in which RS is made aware of the operation of UN sanctions in relation to a particular ship owner, its service will be terminated. For example, after information was received from the Flag Administration (the organization of the country that controls the ship under its flag) that one of the ships registered in the Sierra Leone ship register had had its registration terminated due to the fact that the real owner of the ship is an Iranian company to which UN Security Council sanctions apply, RS class was removed from the ship," the press release said. RS has refused to apply its class to several other ships for the same reason.

Earlier, Reuters reported with reference to documents and sources that RS had decided to terminate its activities in Iran at the urgent request of UANI.

RS told Interfax that the organization is in contact with UANI and recently made comments to it, but explained that "the Russian classification company's business cooperation with both Russian and foreign state bodies, officials and various organizations is based on the principal of independence and impartiality."

"RS makes its decisions independently, exclusively on the basis of the competent opinion of our specialists and within its powers," it said.

The closure of RS' representation in Iran is connected solely with business processes and has no relation to the UN Security Council resolution. "The volume of RS' services in Iran has historically been very insignificant - the RS class is comprised of only a few Iranian ships - and it has been on the decline as of late. This is one of the reasons that the activities of our inspector at the port of Anzali have been suspended," RS told Interfax.

RS is a Russian classification company with a network of subdivisions throughout the world. The purpose of the inspections that it performs on ships is to verify their compliance with international convention standards in the area of merchant shipping and the rules of the register for ship classification.

Without the certification of such entities, ships could not be insured or accepted at the majority of major ports.

In addition, like other classification companies, RS interacts with the maritime administrations of various countries, executing convention inspections of ships on their behalf on the basis of the corresponding agreements. Today RS has instructions from 68 countries. It signed an agreement with Iran in 2009.

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