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EghtesadOnline: A large part of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines’ fleet has regained protection-and-indemnity cover from Steamship Mutual.

More than 50 IRISL vessels have been entered in the International Group of P&I Clubs that was a key insurer of the Iranian fleet before sanctions ended the relationship in 2009.

IRISL has put containerships, larger bulk carriers, multipurpose vessels and offshore support craft into the club and appears to be prioritizing ships that are actively trading internationally, Tradewindsnews.com reported.

Steamship Mutual was the P&I club most favored by Iranian owners before sanctions were imposed seven years ago.

As TradeWindsNews reported in August, it has already signed up part of the National Iranian Tanker Company fleet.

Steamship Mutual now appears to have made a clean sweep of the IRISL tonnage that has so far regained the P&I cover, with more vessels in the process of being entered, according to Financial Tribune.

Regional trading and smaller vessels still appear to be with Iranian P&I insurer Qeshm International Trust Alliance, known as the Qita Club, at least for the time being.

Shippers and charterers like to see International Group cover, so IRISL should get a marketing benefit from moving vessels from the Qita Club, which was set up with Iranian backing to counter sanctions.

IRISL signed a memorandum of understanding with Skuld during a Norwegian trade mission to Tehran in August, but this has yet to bear fruit.

Skuld, however, is one of the clubs providing P&I cover to NITC, while the Skuld syndicate 1897 at Lloyd’s is leading the hull insurance cover of this fleet of about 60 vessels of 15 million dwt, valued at more than $2 billion.

Before sanctions, IRISL had P&I cover from Steamship Mutual and the North of England Club, while earlier turning to Skuld for charterers’ liability cover.

IRISL was the first shipping line to be targeted by sanctions on Iran, with British and US officials claiming the company’s ships had carried cargo that supported the country’s ballistic missile and nuclear program.

Cover was withdrawn by Steamship Mutual just hours before IRISL’s 24,000-dwt vessel Zoorik (built 1979) was grounded in storms in the Yangtze River, subsequently breaking in two, calling for both a bunker spill cleanup and wreck removal.

IRISL Iran Shipping Iran ships Steamship Mutual P&I