No hands on deck: Iran's shipping safety at risk
Western pressure that forced foreign ship classifiers out of Iran has increased safety risks including the danger of an Iranian vessel spilling oil on another country’s coast, the chief executive of Lloyd’s Register said. Last month, the China Classification Society became the last of the world’s top companies in the field to confirm it had stopped verifying safety and environmental standards for Iranian vessels – a requirement for insurance and access to ports.
British classifier Lloyd’s Register, the oldest in the industry and still among the biggest, said in April it had withdrawn from Iran, citing sanctions pressure. “We are going into the unknown absolutely.
When you have internationally trading assets or assets that may affect other nations, then the matter of safety should not become a political tool,” its chief executive, Richard Sadler, told Reuters. “The implications are that we have safety critical assets at sea for which the leading experts in safety are not verifying those ships. What is going to be the effect on somebody else’s coastline if it goes wrong?” Sadler said in an interview. China and other countries in Asia, including South Korea continue to buy Iran’s oil, but the loss of major ship certifiers has raised concerns over the quality of insurance cover and future maintenance of Iranian ships. “Even though the trade has dropped, there are still Iranian ships out there trading. I am not saying they are running them as substandard but we have less control over them,” Sadler said.