Home » Breaking News, Maritime » Shipping firms bring EU to court over sanctions

Thirty-six entities headed by Hamburg-based shipping company Ocean Capital Administration are seeking legal redress from the financial sanctions imposed on them by the European Union (EU) for their alleged involvement in Iran’s nuclear program and arms trafficking, a court document showed.

The shipping firms recently filed a suit with the General Court of the EU in Luxembourg to ask for the annulment of the financial sanctions that have led to their assets in the region being frozen.

The EU widened its sanction coverage three months ago by including more than 100 new entities to its lineup of blacklisted companies and individuals that includes entities supposedly owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).

The complainants claimed the allegations against them were “incorrect, unsubstantiated and unjustified.” They said none of them engaged in or supported Iran’s nuclear program, nor were they owned or controlled by any entity that was engaged in or supported such activities.

The companies, with headquarters in Germany, Malta, and Cyprus, said in their court application that the “serious allegations” have had huge repercussions on their reputation and revenue. Their business activities in the EU have been curtailed, they said, preventing them from acquiring insurance or reinsurance from any European company and from docking their cargoes at EU ports.

The EU imposed wider sanctions to force Teheran to cease its nuclear energy drive, which it suspects was geared toward making atomic bombs. Iran has denied the charges, saying the nuclear program was for electricity generation and medical treatment.

This is the second annulment application made with the EU’s General Court. The first was filed in October 2010 by IRISL and 19 other firms. In their application, the IRISL refuted accusations by both the EU and the United States that it was involved in illegal activity. Over the past few months, the sanctions have led to the temporary seizure of IRISL ships at foreign ports.

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