Banned Iranian Cargo Ship for Recycling at Alang Raises Concerns
In recent developments at the Alang Ship Recycling Yard, the arrival of a general cargo ship from Iran has sparked the attention of relevant government agencies, initiating a series of investigations. The vessel, identified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) number 9167253, was previously named Wave and is currently owned by Vijayakumar & Co. The ship’s history, marked by a series of name changes – from Savage to Azalea in 2012, Lantana in 2011, Ocean Candle in 2008, and originally Iran Lorestan – raises significant questions about its involvement in dubious activities.
The United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has placed vessels engaged in questionable activities on a restricted list. The ship in question, now named Wave, was positioned at Plot No. 138 in Alang Ship Recycling Yard for scrapping. Notably, the US OFAC had included the vessel in its blacklist during the Trump administration in 2018, designating it on the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN).
The ship’s controversial history gained attention when the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in 2021 that the vessel, during its time as Savage, served as a command center for operations in Yemen and Africa. It was alleged that the ship played a role in supporting Yemen’s Houthi rebels during the civil war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia had repeatedly criticized the ship’s prolonged presence in the region.
Ship-tracking data reveals that the vessel, previously known as Savage, encountered trouble in late 2016 when it ran aground in the Red Sea near the Dahlak Archipelago, off the coast of Eritrea. The incident marked a significant point in the ship’s journey, leading to increased scrutiny and criticism from regional authorities.
Despite attempts to sell the vessel in the international market over the past year, it faced rejections due to its tainted past, association with US sanctions, and concerns about its history. Even less regulated shipbreaking countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh declined to accept the ship. Now, the ship has found its way to a recycling yard for dismantling.
Why OFAC Holds Control?
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), under the US Department of the Treasury, plays a crucial role in administering and enforcing economic and trade sanctions. These sanctions align with US foreign policy and national security goals and target specific foreign countries, regimes, terrorists, and individuals involved in international narcotics trafficking. OFAC’s purview extends to activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other threats to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.
Financial Interests and Global Disrepute
Apart from the potential financial gain for a handful of businessmen involved in bringing in vessels with questionable histories, the practice of importing banned or tainted ships at below-market prices can lead to severe consequences. The entire industry, represented by organizations like the Ship Recycling Industries Association (India), must consider the broader implications and strive to avoid involvement with vessels that carry a stigma of illegal activities. This approach aligns with the industry’s responsibility to maintain ethical standards and safeguard its reputation on a global scale.
2021 Attack on the M.V.Wave
In a significant turn of events in 2021, the M.V. Wave, then known as Saviz, faced an explosion. The Iranian Tasnim news agency reported on April 6, 2021, that the ship had encountered mines in the night sea, resulting in damage caused by an explosion. The incident occurred off the coast of Djibouti, leading to minor damage with no reported casualties.
The explosion further added to the controversy surrounding the ship, bringing attention to its potential involvement in activities that could jeopardize maritime security. The incident highlighted the need for a thorough investigation into the ship’s history and its possible connection to security threats in the region.
The arrival of the Iranian cargo ship for scrapping at the Alang Ship Recycling Yard has triggered concerns and investigations by relevant authorities. The vessel’s tumultuous history, including its alleged role as a command center in conflict zones, has raised questions about its connection to illicit activities. The ship’s presence on the OFAC blacklist and its rejection in the international market underscore the challenges associated with vessels carrying a tainted past.
As investigations unfold, it becomes crucial for both governmental and industry bodies to collaborate in addressing the implications of such vessels entering the shipbreaking process. The importance of ethical considerations in the shipbreaking industry cannot be overstated, emphasizing the need for responsible practices and the avoidance of vessels with dubious histories. This case serves as a reminder of the broader impact that individual business decisions can have on the reputation of the entire industry and highlights the necessity for stringent oversight to ensure maritime security and compliance with international norms.