Marine Link
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Rotterdam Court News

Rotterdam Court Can Order Ship Arrests Throughout the EU

Haco van der Houven van Oordt  (Photo: AKD)

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.

Shipbreaking Case Against Seatrade in Dutch Court

Photo: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

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

Photo: Hanjin Shipping

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.

Waste-to-Chemistry Project Comes up in Rotterdam Port

Photo: Port of Rotterdam Authority

A consortium of companies comprising Air Liquide, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, Enerkem and the Port of Rotterdam Authority has signed a development agreement for the initial investments in an advanced waste-to-chemistry plant in Rotterdam. The aim is that this will be the first plant of this type in Europe to offer a sustainable alternative for waste incineration, by converting plastic and mixed waste into new raw materials for industry. These investments – for detailed engineering…

Rotterdam Port Hits Record Freight in 2017

Photo: Port of Rotterdam Authority

The port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest, continued to grow in 2017 spurred by a significant gain in container throughput, which increased by 1.3% to 476 (461) million tonnes with the port returning to the growth trend seen before 2016. Particularly strong growth in container throughput of 12.3% (in tonnes) was the main driver of growth in the port of Rotterdam throughout 2017. Total cargo throughput rose by 1.3%, with the port returning to the growth trend seen before 2016. The increase in containers was offset by a fall in dry bulk of 2.6% and in wet bulk of 4.1%.

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.

Rotterdam Port in Container Shipping Partnership with Barge Terminal Tilburg

From left to right: Wil Versteijnen (BTT), Emile Hoogsteden (Port of Rotterdam) and Luc Smits (CCT). Photo: Port of Rotterdam Authority

Barge Terminal Tilburg, Combined Cargo Terminals, Moerdijk Container Terminals and Danser Group have joined forces, agreeing to combine cargo along the route between Tilburg, Moerdijk and the port of Rotterdam. This allows them to cut back on the number of vessels required – resulting in less congestion during handling in the port of Rotterdam. The collaboration between these private parties and Rotterdam’s deep sea terminals in the ‘West-Brabant Corridor’ is the first concrete…

First European Jail Sentences for Somali Pirates

It has been reported that the five Somali pirates recently tried by the Rotterdam courts for the failed hijack of the Sananyolu, have been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. This could turn out to be a landmark case, since apparently the crew did not attend to give evidence in person but provided written testimony, and also since the pirates apparently threw their weapons over the side but evidence from the frigate’s crew that they had used them prevailed. The pirates attacked the 3,254 dwt general cargo vessel, a Dutch Antilles flagged ship, in January last year. The pirates were intercepted by a Danish frigate and European warrants for their arrest were subsequently issued by the Netherlands.

Skuld Says Joint Marine Insurance Has Legal Black Hole

Image: Skuld Official Twitter Page

It is neither controversial nor new to say that co-assureds under a joint insurance policy cannot claim against each other in respect of a co-insured loss. It is taken to be an implied term and the possibility of financial claims between co-assureds is irrelevant: the insurer will pay. If there are only two, an owner and a charterer, in the contractual chain, and if the charterer is held liable, then the matter goes no further: the insurer covers the loss and there is no recourse claim to be pursued.

Rotterdam Port CEO "preparing for the worst" with Brexit

File Image: The Shell Refinery in the Port of Rotterdam (CREDIT: PoR)

The Port of Rotterdam is bracing for a British exit from the European Union without any deal on customs, and looking at measures such as hiring 100 extra customs agents and dozens of fresh produce inspectors. CEO Allard Castelein said he had had two meetings in the past week with "policy makers, the cabinet, the government and supporting officials about the consequences" of a so-called "hard" Brexit, which would move Britain away from EU rules. "If you have 407 days left, then you don't have time to embrace hypotheses that it will turn out pretty good in the end," he told reporters.

Port of Rotterdam, IBM to Build a Connected, Smart Port of the Future

Photograph: Port of Rotterdam (by Freek van Arkel)

The Port of Rotterdam Authority and IBM has announced their collaboration on a multi-year digitization initiative to transform the port’s operational environment using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in the cloud to benefit the port and those who use it. The initiative will also prepare the Port of Rotterdam’s entire 42-kilometer site to host connected ships in the future. It begins with the development of a centralized dashboard application that will collect and process real-time water (hydro), weather (meteo) sensor data and communications data, analysed through the IBM IoT platform.

Seadrill Nears Comprehensive Restructuring Deal

(File photo: Seadrill)

Rig firm Seadrill, which last year filed for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court, is working towards a comprehensive deal with all its creditors that could be concluded this week, it said in a court filing late on Friday. Once the largest drilling rig operator by market value, Oslo-listed Seadrill filed its bankruptcy case in Texas on Sept. 12 after being hit hard by cutbacks in oil company investment following a steep drop in crude prices. The company, controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen…

Landmark ECJ Ruling on Liability Limitation for Cargo Theft

Jos van der Meché

Rotterdam based law firm AKD said a recent landmark decision of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg definitively puts its weight behind forum shopping to limit liability under the CMR Convention in carrier-friendly countries. This is a boon to the Dutch jurisdiction and specifically comes at the expense of the courts in Germany. The ruling had its origins in a dispute between cargo interests and carriers involving the theft of four consignments of Canon cameras during…

Containership Sold in Aruba after Bank Arrest

Haco van der Houven van Oordt (Photo: AKD)

Rotterdam-based law firm AKD has completed the sale at auction of the container vessel Caribbean Sea in the courts of Aruba following its arrest by Rabobank for outstanding mortgage debts in excess of $28 million. The entire arrest and auction process was completed in just 20 days. The 2007-built vessel arrived and was arrested in Aruban waters on March 25, 2015 as security against an outstanding debt of $28,398,786, and was sold at auction on April 14. AKD partner Haco van der Houven van Oordt…

AKD: Chapter 11 Protection is Not Enforceable in The Netherlands

Netherlands law firm AKD says that, while beleaguered shipowners may be looking increasingly to Chapter 11 filings in the United States to protect their financial interests, the fact is that Chapter 11 does not enjoy the force of law throughout the world, and certainly not in The Netherlands. Haco van der Houven van Oordt, head of the shipping & offshore team at AKD’s headquarters in Rotterdam, says, “Nobody – and that includes the banks - wants to see shipping companies forced out of business. On the other hand, one cannot expect the banks to forgo the opportunity to ring-fence their losses in cases where they deem this to be the most propitious course of action.

European Court Ups Standards for River Dredging

Photo: Port of Hamburg

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Wednesday that damage to water quality must be considered when authorities approve river dredging to expand ports, in a ruling which could hinder expansion at the German ports of Bremen and Hamburg. The European Union's highest tribunal raised hurdles for approval of port dredging projects which could harm marine life, saying more consideration must be given to the potential damage to water quality and marine life. But it did not order…

Creditors to Pursue ARA Vessel Arrests as Bankruptcies Escalate

Rotterdam-based law firm AKD says that creditors of ailing shipping groups such as STX Pan Ocean of South Korea, and TMT of Taiwan, could seek to take advantage of prevailing bankruptcy laws to enforce vessel arrests and other attachments in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region. Haco van der Houven van Oordt, a partner with the shipping and offshore team at AKD in Rotterdam, said, “The recent reports of bankruptcies and voluntary liquidation proceedings involving shipping companies have now reached levels which exceed any in recent memory. STX Pan Ocean, South Korea’s largest dry bulk operator, has reportedly obtained bankruptcy…

Dutch Yards May Need to Rethink Contract Structures

Rotterdam-based law firm AKD said a recent decision of the Dutch courts means that shipyards in The Netherlands may no longer be able to rely on the right to retain a vessel while awaiting payment for work done. As a result of this unexpected decision, shipyards could be forced to completely rethink their strategy on obtaining security, at a time when money remains tight in the shipping industry. The dispute before the Gelderland Court involved two tankers under construction at the Markerink yard in the Netherlands. Upon completion of building, it was the intention of Rijndec Quality Control to transfer ownership of the vessels to two separate affiliated companies, Rijndec Trading and Rijndec Shipping.

Hamburg Elbe Dredging Plan Needs Improvement

The port of Hamburg, Germany (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

Plans to dredge the river Elbe in Hamburg must be improved before a stop order on the work is lifted, a German court ruled on Thursday, raising the risk of more delay to work to deepen Germany's biggest port and open it up to new container ships. Green pressure groups had lodged a legal complaint against the original plan, arguing the environmental impact of dumping mud and sand on fragile coastal wetlands would be devastating. Following the ruling from Germany's top administrative court that authorities must do more to protect the river's maritime environment…

Agreement on funding Rotterdam port expansion

The State, the municipality of Rotterdam and Port of Rotterdam have today concluded an agreement on financing for the construction of Maasvlakte 2, the plan to expand the port of Rotterdam. The construction of Maasvlakte 2 will cost EUR 2.575 billion. According to the agreement, the State will take a 33.3 percent interest in Port of Rotterdam as of 1-1-2006. Port of Rotterdam CEO Willem Scholten: "This a an extremely important agreement. The expansion will give businesses the opportunity to grow in Rotterdam. Maasvlakte 2 will be an excellent location. Right on the sea, and with good hinterland connections. Construction can start in 2006 and the first sites will be available for clients in 2010.

Maritime & Strict Liability Criminal Statutes

There are a number of federal and state statutes that intentionally and justifiably impose strict criminal liability. Persons who manufacture hazardous explosives and those who keep dangerous animals create serious risks to public safety. Clearly placing the burden of potential criminal liability, even in the absence of criminal negligence or intent, on those persons and entities is appropriate. There are other statutes, though, that fail to disclose whether the authors intended for the criminal penalties included for noncompliance to be strictly applied or whether criminal liability requires proof of criminal negligence or specific intent. Two such statutes of interest to the maritime community are the Refuse Act of 1899 and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).

Offshore Center Rotterdam in Progressing

Offshore Center Rotterdam. Photo: Paul Martens, Port of Rotterdam Authority

The first 30 hectares of Offshore Center Rotterdam have been completed. PUMA, a project organisation created by a partnership between Dutch hydraulic engineering firms Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV and Van Oord NV that focuses specifically on the expansion of the Maasvlakte site, processed 6 million m3 of sand in four months to complete the work. Only 2 million m3 of sand are now needed to raise the other 40 hectares to the required level. There is considerable interest in the centre. The Port of Rotterdam expects the first companies to establish themselves on the site in 2019.

Fewer Bunkers in Rotterdam in 2016

Photo: The port of Rotterdam

In 2016 the sale of bunker oil - fuel for shipping - in the Rotterdam bunker port diminished from 10.6 million m3 to 10.1 million m3. There is no reason known for this decline. For the first time, ships bunkered a sea-going vessel with LNG, liquefied natural gas, in Rotterdam. Every year, some 11 million m3 of bunker fuel is supplied to vessels in Rotterdam. In Rotterdam, every imaginable fuel can be obtained in huge quantities. The port of Rotterdam is Europe’s largest bunkering port, as well as one of the top three bunkering ports worldwide.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Feb 2018 - Cruise Ship Annual

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