Shipbreaking Case Against Seatrade in Dutch Court
For the first time in Europe, Public Prosecutors are bringing criminal charges against a ship owner – Seatrade – for having sold vessels to scrap yards in countries “where current ship dismantling methods endanger the lives and health of workers and pollute the environment”. The case is being heard in a Rotterdam Court this week, and the Dutch Public Prosecutor calls for a hefty fine (2.35 mill EUR) and confiscation of the profits Seatrade made on the illegal sale of four ships, as well as a six month prison sentence for three of Seatrade’s top executives.
Three Hanjin Ships Auctioned in Rotterdam
Three containerships of the bankrupt Korean shipping firm Hanjin Shipping were sold at an auction in Rotterdam for a total of USD 392 million, according to Dutch media fd.nl and Nieuwsblad Transport. The 13,000 TEU ships were auctioned on behalf of creditor HSH Nordbank. The three vessels in question are Hanjin Europe, Hanjin Africa and Hanjin Harmony, built in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The 4th ship, the Hanjin Gold, is expected to be auctioned off by a Rotterdam court in January 2017.
Rotterdam Court Can Order Ship Arrests Throughout the EU
Rotterdam-based law firm AKD says a recent revision of the Brussels I Regulation makes it possible to quickly attach assets anywhere in the EU if parties include in their contracts a choice of forum clause conferring jurisdiction on the Rotterdam court. The Brussels 1 Regulation provides uniform rules throughout the EU on international jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments. Bart-Jan van het Kaar, a lawyer with AKD, explains,”The revised Brussels 1 Regulation, which came into effect on January 10, 2015, introduces an important change.
Bunker Suppliers Applaud EU Waste Decision
Recent guidance handed down by the European Court of Justice which rules that off-spec fuel oil does not have to be handled as waste is a triumph of common sense which will be welcomed by all suppliers of fuel oils and bunkers. Shell Nederland and Shell Belgium were disputing a ruling by the Dutch environmental authorities (ILENT) which wanted to force them to handle a parcel of diesel oil rejected by a Belgian client as waste, when in fact Shell intended to up-blend the fuel to specification for selling on. Carel van Lynden, a partner with the shipping and offshore team at AKD in Rotterdam, says, “This is a good decision for bunker suppliers. This case reverses the very strict interpretation which ILENT had placed on off-spec bunkers.