Norwegian shipowner charged with illegal scrapping

Norwegian financial crimes unit Økokrim has charged the owners of a vessel arrested in Norway en route to be scrapped in Pakistan.

Photo: Ole Stian Bockelie/Miljødirektoratet

Økokrim, the Norwegian financial crimes unit, has filed a preliminary charge against the owner of the vessel Harrier, formerly Tide Carrier, which was arrested in Norway in February 2017 on the way to scrapping in Pakistan.

Shipowner Georg Eide has been charged together with the companies Eide Marine Eiendom and Eide Marine Services, reports Dagens Næringsliv.

Eide has been personally charged with contributing to the illegal export of waste, says police attorney Magnus Engh Juel to the newspaper.

In 2015, the vessel was sold from Eide Marine Group to Julia Shipping, a company which, according to NGO Shipbreaking Platform, includes a cash buyer. When the vessel ran aground in Norwegian waters in February last year, Norwegian environmental authorities carried out an inspection of the vessel and discovered that it was en route to the Gadani area in Pakistan to be scrapped on a beaching yard, though the ship did not have the necessary permits in place.

Økokrim took over the investigation in December 2017 and has now issued a charge against the Norwegian shipowner. The vessel departed from Norway last week after lying idle there since the beginning of the case more than one year ago.

The case is not the first of its kind in Europe. Earlier this year, the Court of Rotterdam sentenced a Dutch reefer carrier Seatrade and two of its directors to pay fines of between EUR 50,000 and EUR 750,000 for illegal transfer of four vessels from the EU to, at first, India. The vessels were ultimately dismantled at shipbreaking facilities in India and Bangladesh.

Seatrade has subsequently appealed the judgement.

"Seatrade strongly disagrees with the legal interpretation of the Court that a fully certified, seaworthy vessel should be considered waste and will study the verdict in detail. As it stands, it is very likely the company will consider proceeding to the The Hague Court of Appeal," said Seatrade in response to the decision at the time.

English Edit: Lena Rutkowski

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