UANI calls upon Tanzania to prevent reflagging of Iranian vessels

Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Image source: Daniella Zalcman)The United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) organisation has called on Tanzania to put a stop to the reflagging of National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) vessels

Tanzania announced in August 2012 that it would de-register Iranian ships but reports indicate that NITC vessels are still being reflagged by the African country.

Recent reports stated that an Iranian tanker, Baikal, arrived on the Greek Island of Syros flying the Tanzanian flag.

According to a statement by UANI, Baikal is involved in a fraudulent ownership and insurance scheme.

The vessel is operating under the Tanzanian flag despite being owned by the NITC and insured by Kish Protection & Indemnity Club, “which operates as a regime-backed P&I club that exists solely to service the NITC”, according to UANI.

The organisation has asked Tanzania to state whether it has stopped reflagging Iranian ships, and either end the practice or act with diligence to prevent Iranian vessels sailing with Tanzanian flags.

“UANI calls upon Tanzania to take immediate steps to end the flagging of NITC vessels and clarify the obvious discrepancies between the foregoing information and Tanzania’s previous assertions that it had stopped reflagging Iranian vessels,” UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote in a letter to Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete.

“The Baikal vessel recently made a port of call at Egypt’s Sidi Kerir Terminal, which is a key transit point for moving oil in and out of Egypt and is connected to the Sumed pipeline.

“The crude oil tanker, Millionaire, appears to be involved in a similar fraudulent ownership and insurance scheme; Millionaire is owned by the NITC and insured by Kish P&I, but operates under the Tanzanian flag.

“UANI is particularly disturbed that Millionaire appears to have recently transported crude oil from an Egyptian port to Tartus, Syria – an action in direct contraposition to the multinational sanctions put in place in response to the Assad regime’s ongoing and brutal crackdown on the Syrian people.

“The only responsible course of action for Tanzania is to immediately take action to sever all ties with NITC and the Iranian regime.

"It is doubtful that the Iranian regime could utilise Tanzanian flag services without the authorisation of Tanzania.

“However if the Iranian regime’s use of Tanzanian flag services is indeed unauthorised, Tanzania must publicly confirm as such and take aggressive action to avoid complicity in the regime’s illicit shipping activities.”

UANI recently announced that Hong Kong, Moldova and Mongolia have ended their reflagging of Iranian vessels and shipping services including Bureau Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, Korean Register of Shipping, China Classification Society and ClassNK have stopped certifying Iranian vessels.

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