Gulating Lagmannsrett, an appeal court in Norwegian city Bergen, sentences Georg Eide to six months in prison, and as such, agrees with the verdict given by the district court back in November 2020.
Georg Eide appealed the original verdict from 2020, and the appeal case ran from the 14th to the 24th of February.
Lagmannsretten stated that it makes little difference on the justification for punishment whether the shipowner himself sells the ship directly to a shipbreaker on the beach in Gadani or sells it to a middle man.
The case is about the scrapping of dry bulk vessel Tide Carrier, which ran aground in Norway in 2017. Eide was selling the vessel, but the prosecutor, the National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim), says he was aware that Tide Carrier’s buyer was intending to scrap the vessel in South East Asia.
This is a violation of the Norwegian pollution regulation.
ShippingWatch has been in contact with Georg Eide’s lawyer, Arild Dyngeland from the Norwegian law firm Schjødt, who does not want to comment on the verdict or whether Eide plans to appeal.
A major environmental problem
”The ruling majority of the court of appeal finds, like the district court, that the accused should be convicted of aiding and abetting an attempt to export the ship for scrapping in Pakistan,” the verdict reads.
The unconditional prison sentence of six months is maintained by the appeal court.
Maria Bache Dahl, police attorney with Økokrim, says in a press release that it is the first time that a Norwegian shipowner has been convicted for involvement in scrapping obsolete ships on beaches in South Asia.
”Such scrapping is referred to as beaching and is a major international environmental problem. As a large maritime nation, it is important that the Norwegian authorities contribute to the fight against this problem,” she says.
In a press release, Økokrim also states that the exports of waste are strictly regulated in both Norwegian and international law to ensure that rich countries do not send their waste to poor countries that do not have the infrastructure to handle such waste.
”Lagmannsretten stated that it makes little difference on the justification for punishment whether the shipowner himself sells the ship directly to a shipbreaker on the beach in Gadani or sells it to a middle man and in a punishable way contributes to its scrapping,” says Bache Dahl, adding:
”Sale to middlemen which have specialized in scrapping of ships is a common practice within beaching, and it’s worth noticing that it can also lead to punishment in Norway under certain circumstances.”
Eide has the opportunity to appeal the verdict.