United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on Italy’s Ignazio Messina & Co. SpA, the world’s second largest roll-on/roll-off tanker operator, to immediately end its Iran operations.
Ignazio Messina operates container and roll-on/roll-off services at the port of Bandar Abbas – Iran's largest port through which 90% of its container traffic passes. The Bandar Abbas port is known to be controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
UANI first contacted Ignazio Messina on June 27, 2013, stating that its business activities in Iran created the risk “that its vessels and services may be misused in pursuit of the regime’s illicit agenda.” Added UANI: “Ignazio Messina’s continued business in Iran also likely violates EU sanctions … because any such activity would, at the very least, involve paying loading fees to Iranian port operators.”
In a July 2, 2013 response to UANI, Ignazio Messina stated that “Till [D]ecember 2012 the Terminal Operators assisting our vessels were Messrs Faraz Royal Qeshim Co. We confirm that both Iranian Companies [including the new Terminal Operator] are private and neither have any relationships with Messrs Tidewater nor are among the Iranian Firms shown on the black list.”
Ignazio Messina’s response is insufficient, however, say UANI, as Faraz Royal Qeshm is a front company for Tidewater set up to evade sanctions--something the EU itself confirmed in its Council Regulation concerning sanctions on Iran . Faraz Royal Qeshm was in fact established only days after the U.S. government sanctioned Tidewater in 2011.
Given Ignazio Messina’s ignorance of the Faraz Royal Qeshm and Tidewater connection, UANI remains concerned that its new declared shipping agent at Bandar Abbas, Penjam Gulf Port Services Co.,is of similarly dubious provenance, particularly considering the IRGC’s known control of the port.
The full text of UANI's latest letter is at: http://unitedagainstnucleariran.com/sites/default/files/letters/UANI_Ltr_Ignazio-Messina_072913.pdf