The Dutch Public Prosector (OM) suspects Jumbo Shipping of violating the European Waste Shipment Regulation (EWSR). It concerns two ships that were scrapped in Turkey in 2014 and 2015. Jumbo now faces fines, but the company says it does not identify with the allegations.

The case came before the court on 6 and 7 June. According to the prosecutor, the criminal investigation was prompted by the Seaport Police’s search of a database containing details of scrapped ships. According to this database, two seagoing ships had been scrapped in Turkey on 6 March 2014 and 28 April 2015, respectively.

When the ships were sailed onto the beach of the scrap yard, they still contained oil, fuels, batteries, refrigerants and asbestos in addition to steel. Under the EWSR, a notification should have been made for both ships prior to their transfer.

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In court, the prosecutor stated: ‘Defendants, professional actors, companies participating in economic traffic, are expected to ascertain the applicable legal rules prior to their actions. They should know that the (European) environmental regulations in this area are strict in order to protect human health and the environment from harmful influences. The “polluter pays” principle implies that defendants are responsible to deal with their end-of-life ships in an environmentally friendly manner. But the defendants do not demonstrate their responsibility in this issue. No effort has been shown as to how they could best and legally dispose of the ships.’

Jumbo now faces a fine of up to 200,000 euros and community service sentences of up to 240 hours (120 hours on probation).

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‘Turkish yard had right certificates’

To local news channel Schie Online, Jumbo says it does not identify with the allegations. ‘We were aware about the controversy surrounding ship scrapping in countries like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. We then looked carefully for a company that could dismantle the ships properly,’ explains Jumbo representative Charles Huijskens. In addition, Jumbo says that in their view, a ship is seen as one waste product under the regulations and that the Turkish shipyard was chosen because it had the right certificates.

The Rotterdam District Court will deliver its verdict on 28 June at 1 pm.

Picture: This is likely one of the two ships involved. The Jumbo Spirit arrived for scrapping in Aliaga, Turkey, in April 2015 (picture by Kees Torn, Wikimedia Commons).

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