The Isle of Man Chief Minister says there is no evidence to support allegations that illegal arms shipments were made on Isle of Man registered vessels operated by the Iranian IRISL organization.
The Celtic League wrote to the IOM government in February revisiting the issue of the alleged arms shipments and quoting as a source an email to the League September 2010 which said:
“Given that in November 2009 a Douglas-registered ship (`Visea’), owned by Douglas-based `Byfleet Shipping’ transferred 320 tons worth of arms shipments, including 9,000 mortar shells, thousands of 107-mm Katyusha rockets, 600 122-mm
rockets, and hundreds of thousands of rounds of Iranian ammunition, onto another ship, `Francop’, destined for Hezbollah, it seems that the Isle of Man government may indeed have acted in breach of UN Security Council Resolution
However, although not mentioning the Israeli allegations directly the Chief Minister rejects any assertion of Manx links to the shipment including a reference to a visit to the Island by US officials to apparently discredit the Israeli assertion.
The text of the Chief Ministers letter is set out below
“Dear Mr Moffatt
Thank you for your letter of 15 February 2011, further to our previous correspondence relating to Isle of Man/Iranian Links.
Since our last correspondence we have received no further evidence to support the allegation that the “Visea” was used to tranship arms to Egypt, where it was said to have been collected by the “Francop”. Furthermore, we have had a visit of the US Office Foreign Asset Control and US Embassy officials – and neither provided any further evidence or other information about the alleged shipment.
An investigation undertaken by our Customs and Excise officers showed no evidence that any Island person was involved in the shipment of arms.
I am advised that in the past few months several persons in the Island have severed their links with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL). The company mentioned no longer has a CSP or flag state representative, and ships formerly on the TOM Ships Register have been struck off that Register as a result.
• sanctions against IRISL and Iranian interests in the Island have been further
tightened and, as a result, there are no longer any IRISL ships on the IOM Ship
• the representatives who acted for IRISL in the Island have severed, or are in
the process of severing, all links, and any companies owned or controlled by
IRISL have been or are being removed from the IOM Companies Register;
• co-operation with other authorities, in the UK and elsewhere continues;
• there is no reason at this time to reopen the original investigation.
I trust this information answers your concerns and queries.
Hon J A Brown MHK
Related links on Celtic News and other sites:
Link to article on US Treasury designation of companies:
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information