Unfortunately, it is like a regular wonder for the Owners to face new sanctions imposed on Iran by the US, EU and UN. It is now quite commonly known that any person(s) or establishments whether based inside or outside the United States, are barred from engaging in any sort of trade with Iran. Whereas EU regulations, imposes, among other measures, a ban on the import of Iranian crude oil, petroleum and petrochemical products, including bunker fuel. The new EU sanctions, effective from 01 July 2012 will forbid the vessels under the jurisdiction of an EU Member State; nationals of Member States; any legal person, entity or body incorporated or constituted under the law of a Member State and to any legal person, entity or body in respect of any business pertaining to petrochemical, oil and petroleum products.
IG club has also informed that the direct impact will be on the shipowner/vessel and there is no direct implication in relation to the provision of insurance cover although there could be indirect insurance consequences in relation to possible vessel detention or deviation. There is indeed a significant impact on the insurance as the IG has cautioned that with effect from 01 July 2012 they will be unable to provide P&I insurance cover to any ship carrying petrochemical products or crude oil or petroleum products from Iran on any voyage anywhere in the world irrespective of whether the cargo was loaded inside or outside Iran and will have an impact on Blue card certificates issued for the purposes of the Civil Liability Convention and the Bunkers Convention, in that the certificates will be rendered invalid if ships engage in prohibited activities.
Further, the new proposal by the US to prohibit vessels from calling at any port in the US if called ports in Iran, Syria or North Korea during the last 180 days preceding the arrival of the ship in the US. Either the owner, charterer, operator or the master would be required prior to arrival in the US to certify compliance with the proposed 180 day rule.
The Final version of the new sanctions legislation is currently under review by the Senate; and the US administration to date has therefore been unable to clarify the applicability of 180 day rule. As IG Club have rightly raised the following issues that need clarifications:
1) Whether this 180 day rule will have a retrospective effect i.e. whether the trading history will be the 180 days before or after the day the legislation comes into force.
2) Whether the prohibitions can be extended to include other ships in the same ownership, management, operation or control.
3) Whether any exemptions can be obtained if the ship is contractually bound to proceed to ports in Iran, Syria or North Korea at the time the legislation is adopted.
We are monitoring the developments with regard to the progress of proposed legislation and will keep the readers updated.