03 DEC 2020
A 54-year-old Norwegian ship-owner has been sentenced to six months in prison for his role in the attempted demolition voyage of the decommissioned LASH vessel Eide Carrier (later renamed Tide Carrier, Harrier).
Prosecutors with the white-collar crime agency Okokrim charged Georg Eide, owner of defunct salvage firm Eide Marine Services, with violating Norway’s Pollution Control Act. According to the charges, Eide aided in an attempt to export the Eide Carrier from Norway to Pakistan for scrapping. The district court determined that he played a central role in the attempt and sentenced him to six months imprisonment for “highly reprehensible” actions.
“This is the first time that a verdict has given punishment for exporting ships to the beaches in Asia. Now it is not just ‘unfortunate’ to send the ships there. It is forbidden and punishable, and it was high time we received a verdict that clearly shows that this is not right,” said Sigurd Enge, a spokesperson for environmental NGO Bellona.
The case of the Eide Carrier was well publicized in Norway. In 2015-16, as his firm edged towards bankruptcy and liquidation, Eide sold the ship to new owners who renamed her Tide Carrier. The following year, they attempted to sail her on an alleged demolition voyage. The vessel lost power in foul weather shortly after leaving port, and Norwegian maritime authorities scrambled to prevent her from running aground. Five of her crewmembers were injured in the evolution, including one who sustained a broken shoulder.
After her rescue, she returned to layup in the port of Gismarvik. Her new owners renamed her again – this time as the Harrier – and changed her flag. Acting on a tip from NGO Ship breaking Platform, Norwegian officials boarded her and found that she had been insured for a second demolition voyage to Gadani, Pakistan – not Oman, the listed destination provided to the authorities. She was carrying unusually large quantities of sludge and fuel oil, and a sales contract identified her buyer as an executive at a well-known cash buyer (a firm specializing in demolition sales). The vessel was arrested while an investigation proceeded, and she was eventually allowed to depart for a scrapyard in Turkey in August 2018. She allegedly caused a small spill on the way to her final destination.
“[Georg Eide] had knowledge that the ship would be scrapped in Asia,” said Acting State Attorney Maria Bache Dahl. “Scrapping of obsolete ships is a major international environmental problem. As a large maritime nation, it is important that the Norwegian authorities contribute to the fight against this problem.”