Nordic Maritime hit with $31m American fine

America’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed a $31.43m fine on Singapore-based Nordic Maritime and its chairman, Morten Innhaug, over the company’s use of US origin subsea survey equipment in Iranian territorial waters.

In July 2011, Reflect Geophysical obtained a license from BIS to re-export subsea survey equipment controlled on national security and anti-terrorism grounds. The equipment was loaded onto the Orient Explorer, a vessel owned by DMNG, a Russian state-owned company. In March 2012, Reflect lost control of the equipment aboard the vessel in Singapore due to DMNG exercising a lien over the controlled surveying equipment as a result of a contractual dispute. Nordic subsequently gained control of the equipment by chartering the Orient Explorer from DMNG.

In April 2012, Reflect sent a cease and desist letter to DMNG, Nordic, and Innhaug cautioning the parties that the use of Reflect’s equipment in Iranian waters would violate the terms of the BIS issued re-export license.

Despite the warning by Reflect, BIS said Nordic used the controlled equipment to perform a 3D offshore seismic survey in the Forouz B natural gas field in Iranian territorial waters. The survey was conducted pursuant to a contract that Nordic had with Mapna International FZE, a subsidiary of Mapna Group, also known as the Iran Power Plant Management Company.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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