Dutch boxship operator WEC Lines has been fined by local prosecutors for selling an old containership for scrapping on the beaches of India.
According to a report from the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service, the company sold the 1985-built 646 teu containership HMS Laurence to a cash buyer and the vessel ended up being scrapped on tidal mudflats in Alang, India, against EU regulations.
WEC Lines has paid a fine of EUR780,000 and a settlement of EUR2.2m to the prosecutor and promised it would take measures to avoid beach scrapping in the future.
“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,” commented Ingvild Jenssen, executive director and founder of NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
In March last year another Dutch shipping company, Seatrade, was convicted for having intended to scrap four vessels in India. Five subsidiaries of the company received fines, and two of the company’s CEOs were sentenced to professional bans.