Norwegian appeal court confirms illegal shipbreaking prison sentence for ship owner 

The Gulating Lagmannsrett, an Appeal Court in the Norwegian city of Bergen, has confirmed the prison sentence for Norwegian ship owner Georg Eide for aiding and abetting the illegal attempt to export the ship Tide Carrier, aka Eide Carrier and Harrier, to Pakistan for scrapping.

Back in November 2020, the First Instance Sunnhordland District Court in Norway had sentenced Eide to six months unconditional imprisonment for having assisted scrap dealer Wirana in an attempt to illegally export the Tide Carrier to the shipbreaking beach of Gadani. The Court had also ordered the confiscation of criminal dividends of NOK 2 million (US$230,159) from Eide Marine Eidendom AS.

Now, almost a year and a half later, Eide, who had decided to appeal the first verdict, sees his prison sentence confirmed. As reported by ShippingWatch, the Court concluded, in line with the National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime’s (Økokrim), that the ship owner was aware that the Tide Carrier’s buyer was intending to scrap the vessel in South Asia, in violation of national and European waste rules. 

According to the Appeal Court, having sold the vessel to a middle man and not directly to a beaching yard does not provide for exempting the ship owner from being held liable for having committed an environmental crime.

Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes are strictly regulated by Norwegian, European and international laws. Illegal trade of toxic end-of-life ships are increasingly being investigated by enforcement authorities in several EU Member States, which have the obligation to prevent the export of hazardous wastes to non-OECD countries. 

Upholding the principles and rules set in the Basel Convention and EU waste legislation, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform expects that more ship owners and intermediaries will be held accountable for the exploitation of vulnerable communities and the environment on the shipbreaking beaches of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and call upon the shipping industry to conduct human rights due diligence when managing their end-of-life fleet.

Photo credit: iStock/ Zerbor

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