Recent Developments: Return of Iran - Safety standards in the spotlight


The return of Iran on the global shipping stage after its absence in the wake of sanctions raises a number of potential safety issues. Photo: Shutterstock

The re-emergence of Iran on the global shipping and commodities scene is set to shake things up as it seeks to put its stamp on the oil markets. As of mid-January 2016, the country had met all of its requirements under its nuclear deal with world powers to gain relief from international sanctions. Iran has proven oil reserves of 157.5bn barrels[i].

Once it is able to reinvigorate its aging oil production infrastructure, it will be keen to turn on the taps and supply oil to global market. This excess oil will likely not be welcomed by a market that is already oversupplied and there are additional safety considerations to be taken into account.

“Everyone agrees that the steps taken so far with regards to Iran are good; everyone hopes that the lifting of sanctions can only be positive for world peace and for the people of Iran,” says Gerhard. “But we do need to consider the safety standards onboard Iranian ships re-entering trade and insurers must look very carefully at this. We also need more transparency of navigational standards in Iranian waters, and port standards need to be brought back to an international level. Sailing to Iran’s ports must be as safe and as transparent as any other in the region.”