New York June 21, 2013 - Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) announced the launch of its Maritime Intelligence Network and Rogue Vessel Analysis (MINERVA) system. MINERVA is a new UANI initiative that tracks Iranian vessels and identifies and exposes the Iranian regime's efforts to smuggle oil and cargo in circumvention of international sanctions.
Through MINERVA, UANI conducts 24-hour real-time tracking and course prediction of Iranian and Iran-related vessels, including clandestine vessels, anywhere in the world. MINERVA analysts are located in New York, London and Hong Kong, allowing for around-the-clock monitoring. MINERVA is able to detect nefarious Iranian shipping activities as they occur, and UANI in turn notifies relevant authorities of illicit actions occurring in their jurisdictions.
MINERVA collects, processes, and analyzes raw vessel data such as speed, heading, identity, draught, and destination information. The system then correlates this shipping data with supplementary data from maritime industry sources, and employs algorithmic analysis to create distinct vessel and shipping route profiles and predict the courses and destinations of otherwise undetectable vessels of the Iranian regime.
MINERVA is the next phase of UANI's Shipping Campaign. The campaign has resulted in dozens of shipping and maritime-related companies including all thirteen of the world's major classification societies, multiple shipping lines, and numerous countries ending their provision of services to the Iranian shipping industry.
UANI developed MINERVA in response to the Iranian regime's increasing efforts to make vessels "dark," and avoid being detected by traditional vessel-tracking systems. For example, vessels of Iran's National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) are now regularly disabling their on-board location-transmissions systems, or "spoofing" their locations, destinations, and/or identities by inputting false identifying information.
MINERVA's unique capabilities allow UANI to monitor such vessels, and take relevant action to halt illegal Iran-sponsored shipping schemes.
Said UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace:
Iran's smuggling schemes thrive on deception and disguise. Our analysts are now on watch, 24 hours a day, to uncover the clandestine activities of Iranian vessels and identify the regime's unscrupulous partners in the international shipping industry.
When the regime's smuggling schemes are identified and exposed, maritime and port authorities can no longer deny knowledge of the origins of illicit Iranian vessels, shipments, and cargoes in their respective jurisdictions. The moment Iran's shipping schemes are brought to light is the same moment maritime and port authorities begin to turn the vessels away.
UANI has long highlighted the shipping industry as an area where the international community can further pressure Iran. In a 2012 Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, six UANI board members wrote that "the world must deny Iran's access to international shipping, a move that would severely affect the regime given its dependence on global trade and seaborne crude oil exports."
Last year, all thirteen of the world's major classification societies stopped certifying Iranian vessels following UANI's campaign, including Bureau Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, Korean Register of Shipping, China Classification Society, and ClassNK. UANI has also announced that Barbados, Hong Kong, Moldova and Mongolia have stopped their reflagging of Iranian vessels.