Lloyd's Register, a classification society that verifies the safety and environmental standards of vessels, has stopped assessing around 60 tankers and container ships owned by Iran's NITC and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines following pressure from the United States.
The company joins a broad spectrum of industries, from banks and insurers to refiners and shipowners, that have been forced to cut their ties to Iran because of tightening Western sanctions. The United States and Europe are trying to squeeze the revenues Iran makes from its oil exports to force it to halt a nuclear program they fear will be used to make weapons, but which Tehran says is for power generation.
"The Americans came to us and said that if we continued to work for the Iranians we would be blacklisted in America," Richard Sadler, the London-based chief executive of Lloyd's Register, said on the sidelines of a conference in Singapore.
"There was a lot of confusion about the sanctions and actually the recommendations was that it was better for British classification societies within Europe not to be dealing directly with NITC," he said.