The Dutch Public Prosecutor has imposed a penalty of €780,000 on shipowner Holland Maas Scheepvaart Beheer II for illegally scrapping a vessel on the beaches of Alang in India.
Holland Maas Scheepvaart Beheer II BV, a subsidiary of WEC Lines, has already paid a settlement of €2.2m, which brings the total fine to approximately €3m as a result of the prosecution.
In 2013, the company sold its HMS Laurence vessel to an unnamed cash buyer, who eventually sent the ship to Alang.
The scrapping of the ship in Alang caused serious damage to the environment, as well as posed an extensive risk to the health of workers and the local population, alleged the Dutch Public Prosecutor.
Currently, destruction of vessels on tidal mudflats is banned in Europe. The export of hazardous materials from European Union countries to developing countries is also not allowed under the rules.
After investigating the illegal export of HMS Laurence from Italy, the Dutch Public Prosecutor asked the owner of the ship to pay €2.2m, the amount received by Holland Maas Scheepvaart Beheer II from the sale of HMS Laurence.
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NGO Shipbreaking Platform executive director and founder Ingvild Jenssen said: “It is very encouraging to see that ship owners are being held accountable for the trafficking of toxic ships. It is also encouraging to see that WEC Lines BV is now committed to the safe and clean recycling of its fleet off the beach.
“With that, they join other responsible ship owners such as Dutch Boskalis, German Hapag Lloyd, and Scandinavian companies Wallenius-Wilhelmsen and Grieg, that already have sustainable recycling policies in place that clearly rule out beaching.”
In March, Dutch shipping company Seatrade was found guilty for its plans to scrap four vessels in India.