Asian shipowners say anti-Iran sanctions hit innocent as well as guilty

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REPRESENTATIVES of Asian shipowners attending the 17th Interim Meeting of the Asian Shipowners Forum (ASF) Ship Insurance and Liability Committee (SILC) in Hong Kong have expressed their strong concern about the effect of recently introduced sanctions against Iran and its impact on innocent third parties and the global shipping industry.

The meeting heard that sanctions are increasingly being introduced and frequently updated and revised, with an increasing number of countries being targeted. The sanctions would appear to be intentionally vague in nature, with the apparent attempt to encourage companies to trade with an over abundance of caution. Sanctions are issued by many bodies and in many ways are illogically different in wording and nature.

The shipowners are concerned that transgression might occur in a way that was, at the time, unpredictable, so many will find that it is better to play safe.

Robert Ho, the chairman of the meeting remarked: "Shipping is a global business, and as such can find itself on the wrong side of sanctions for entirely the wrong reasons. We call upon all concerned to issue sanctions only through the United Nations, to better ensure consistent wording and application".

One example is the recent European sanctions prohibiting the provision, directly or indirectly, of insurance and reinsurance related to the transport of Iranian crude oil, petroleum products or petrochemical products.

While it is understandable that the prohibition of hull or cargo insurance would be an effective addition to the sanctions, the provision of liability insurance is a different matter for the reason that liability insurance protects innocent third parties. The committee calls upon the European Union to provide a derogation in the implementing regulation to exclude the application of the prohibitions on insurance/reinsurance to the provision of compulsory and/or third party liability insurance cover and its underlying reinsurance arrangements.

The 17th Interim Meeting of the ASF Ship Insurance and Liability Committee was hosted by the Hong Kong Shipowners Association. The Asian Shipowners' Forum is a voluntary organisation of the shipowner associations of Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea and the Federation of ASEAN Shipowners' Associations comprising shipping associations of ASEAN countries. The aims of the ASF are to promote the interests of the Asian shipowning industries.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News
 

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