In total, Seatrade will pay the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office EUR 5,650,000 in out-of-court settlement for transferring four ships to India, Bangladesh and Turkey, respectively, for shipbreaking. The company did not comply with the EU Regulation on waste shipments.

The Seatrade group and two directors will pay the Public Prosecutor’s Office a total of EUR 2,650,000. In addition, the prosecution also reached a settlement of EUR 3,000,000 with the shipowner. This is the amount the shipowner allegedly earned from the shipments, according to the prosecution.

The case involves the ships Spring Bear, Spring Bob, Spring Deli, and Spring Panda, all delivered in 1984. The first three left the port of Rotterdam in April and May 2012, the fourth left the port of Hamburg in May of the same year. All four ships were beached and then scrapped in 2012. For the Spring Bear this was in Alang (India), for the Spring Bob in Chittagong Roads (Bangladesh) and for the Spring Deli and Spring Panda it was in Aliaga (Turkey).

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On 15 March 2018, the Rotterdam District Court ruled against the group and the two directors for acting contrary to Section 10.60 of the Environmental Management Act and the rules set out in the European Waste Shipment Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006. Fines totalling EUR 2,550,000 were imposed on the legal entities belonging to the group. Two directors were fined EUR 50,000 and banned from working for a year. A third director was acquitted.

On 30 June 2020, these judgments were overturned by the The Hague Court of Appeal due to a defect in the composition of the court. As a result, the hearing of the case did not take place by an impartial court.

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European Waste Shipment Regulation

For shipments of waste from the European Union, the European Waste Shipment Regulation imposes rules. Those rules include that hazardous waste cannot be shipped to countries such as India, to which the OECD decision does not apply. The government enforces compliance with this regulation.

Appropriate settlement

The management of the Seatrade group acknowledges that it transferred the four ships to India, Bangladesh and Turkey without complying with the requirements of the EU regulations. It regrets, with the knowledge of today, the choices made at the time and says it will ensure that any future dismantling of ocean-going vessels will take place in accordance with the rules in force.

In view of the proceedings as well as the statement of the group’s management, the public prosecutor considers this to be an appropriate and adequate settlement.

Picture for illustrative purposes: Shipbreaking in Chittagong Bangladesh (by Adam Cohn, Flickr).

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