NEW YORK--(United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on the Finnish engine manufacturer Wärtsilä to immediately clarify and end its business activities related to Iran’s shipping industry.)--On Thursday,
“is in agreement with the efforts of 'United against Nuclear Iran,'”
Last month, UANI called attention to Wärtsilä’s involvement in providing technology and marine diesel engines to Chinese shipbuilders that are currently building oil tankers for the Iranian regime.
In subsequent correspondence with UANI, Wärtsilä stated that it "is in agreement with the efforts of 'United against Nuclear Iran,'" and claimed that it was not engaging in improper business activities related to Iran.
Today, UANI is presenting Wärtsilä with evidence that seems to belie Wärtsilä’s assertions. The information indicates that Wärtsilä is involved in the construction of three new tankers for the National Iranian Tanker Company.
Further, Wärtsilä wholly failed to address UANI’s concerns regarding Wärtsilä’s involvement in the construction of oil tankers for the Iranian regime now occurring in China.
UANI calls on Wärtsilä to take responsibility for its business in support of the Iranian regime, and put an immediate end to it.
In a letter sent to Wärtsilä President & CEO Björn Rosengren, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:
…[T]hrough an apparent business relationship with the Iranian regime-controlled shipbuilder Iran Marine Industrial Company (“SADRA”), Wärtsilä is involved the construction of three new tankers for the National Iranian Tanker Company (“NITC”). Specifically, Wärtsilä is involved in designing and building twelve 8L32 medium-speed diesel engines for use in the NITC’s new shuttle tankers, the U.S. sanctioned-vessels IMICO NEKA 455, IMICO NEKA 456, and IMICO NEKA 457. As you surely know, SADRA operates as a shipbuilding arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and has been sanctioned by the U.S. and EU as an agent of Iran’s military that has “materially contributed to… the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction of their means of delivery.” Notably, the Iranian regime is increasingly reliant on the ship-to-ship transfer capabilities of such tankers to carry out its illicit oil transshipment schemes in circumvention of international sanctions.
In addition, Wärtsilä’s response is conspicuously silent on the matter of Wärtsilä’s involvement in the construction of new VLCCs for Iran. As initially expressed in UANI’s December 12 letter, Wärtsilä has provided engine designs for 12 new VLCCs commissioned by the NITC. Five of the vessels, the “Carnation,” “Rainbow,” “Skyline,” “Atlantis,” and “Infinity,” are currently operating as Iran’s newest and most capable supertankers, while the “Demos,” “Sonata,” “Dew Drop,” “Songbird,” “Smooth,” “Deniz,” and “Dusk” are currently under construction or on order at Chinese shipyards. Each vessel is built around Wärtsilä’s 7RT-flex82T 2-stroke engine, a modern, high-tech design that supports Wärtsilä’s lucrative position as market leader in the 2-stroke marine engine industry. All told, these twelve tankers will expand the NITC’s carriage and storage capacity by up to 24 million barrels. … Put simply, Wärtsilä is assisting the Iranian regime’s development of its most lucrative economic sector, the revenues from which go directly to fund the regime’s nefarious activities, including its nuclear program.
Finally, Wärtsilä subsidiary Wärtsilä Italia S.p.A has apparently built engines for at least two IRISL vessels, the “Pardis” and “Armis/Visea,” respectively. The U.S. Treasury has blacklisted both vessels while noting that Iran “had placed its international network of ships and hubs into the service of the Iranian military, particularly the arm of its military overseeing ballistic missile development.” As you know, it is industry practice for manufacturers of large-vessel marine engines such as Wärtsilä to remain involved in vessels outfitted with their engines and equipment. Accordingly, please immediately clarify whether Wärtsilä is providing any maintenance services, technical advice and expertise, or any other service or expertise to any Iranian vessel.
UANI has highlighted the shipping industry as an area where the international community can further pressure Iran. In a May 2012 Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, six UANI board members wrote that "the world must deny Iran's access to international shipping, a move that would severely affect the regime given its dependence on global trade and seaborne crude oil exports."
All thirteen of the world’s major shipping services have stopped certifying Iranian vessels following UANI’s campaign, including Bureau Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, Korean Register of Shipping, China Classification Society, and ClassNK. UANI has also announced that Barbados, Hong Kong, Moldova and Mongolia have stopped their reflagging of Iranian vessels.
UANI has requested a response from Wärtsilä by January 31.