Insurers call for clarity following Sanchi loss

Marine insurers want clarity on sanctions following the loss of Sanchi. Credit: IHS Markit
Marine insurers want clarity on sanctions following the loss of Sanchi. Credit: IHS Markit

The marine insurance sector has said it requires greater clarity on the issue of sanctions, highlighted by the loss of Sanchi last month.

The International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) said the market wanted to meet the needs of the global marine market, but must be mindful of sanctions imposed by world governments.

Iranian oil carrier Sanchi, which sank in international waters off Japan and China, highlighted the debate over the current US embargo prohibiting the insurance of Iranian exports, sanctions that the European Union has relaxed since the Iran nuclear deal was struck.

IUMI secretary-general Lars Lange told a press conference in London, “Our thoughts go out to the 32 crew members who lost their lives and their families and this loss further highlights that there are people out on the seas to ensure goods reach their destinations in challenging conditions.

“In terms of Sanchi, it remains very early in the loss and there are various issues that still have to be determined. The amount of oil and bunker that has been discharged is still not known, and we are not in a position to put a value on the loss.

“In terms of the legal issues around sanctions, we do not want to speculate, but when it comes to international sanctions we have always said that, as insurers, we will support them where they are imposed.

“What we want is clarity in those sanctions, and in recent years the United States and European Union have provided conflicting approaches. If we have clarity, then we as an industry can ensure our adherence to those sanctions.”

Lange’s comments were backed by IUMI president Dieter Berg.

“The seeming conflict in sanctions does not help the insurance industry,” he added. “We would ask for greater clarity so that we as insurers, and the clients we insure, are able to ensure we are not in danger of breaching those sanctions. It would make our job of insuring world trade easier.”