The Netherlands-based shipowner Seatrade has faced criminal charges from a local public prosecutor as part of a case alleging that the company has been engaging in illegal scrapping practices.
Seatrade has allegedly sold vessels to scrap yards in countries that undertake ship breaking practices that endanger the lives and health of workers, as well as pollute the environment.
After hearing the case, a Rotterdam Court has imposed a fine of €2.35m and ordered the confiscation of profits made by Seatrade on the illegal sale of four ships, including Spring Bear, Spring Bob, Spring Panda and Spring Deli.
Three of Seatrade’s top executives could also face a six-month prison sentence.
According to NGO Shipbreaking Platform, Spring Bear and Spring Bob were sold to Indian and Bangladeshi breakers respectively.
Seatrade also sold the Spring Panda and Spring Deli vessels in Turkey without following the international laws governing the export of hazardous waste or the European Union (EU) Waste Shipment Regulation, among other regulations, the Shipbreaking Platform alleges.
All four vessels made their last voyage to the breaking yards from the ports of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Germany’s Hamburg in 2012.
NGO Shipbreaking Platform founder and director Ingvild Jenssen said: “Despite ongoing criminal investigations, Seatrade sold two more ships, the Sina and Ellan, for dirty and dangerous breaking on the beach in Alang, India, in August 2017.
“This case adds itself to the growing demand, including from investors and major shipping banks, for better ship-recycling practices.”
In addition, authorities in Norway, Belgium, and the UK are investigating similar cases of illegal ship breaking practices involving companies such as Maersk and CMB, as well as GMS and Wirana.