Norwegian Court Upholds Georg Eide's Prison Sentence for Scrap Sale
Norway's supreme court has upheld the conviction of shipowner Georg Eide in connection with the attempted export and scrapping of the LASH vessel Eide Carrier. The decision exhausts his final appeal, and he faces a jail term of six months in connection with the case.
In 2015-16, Eide sold the Eide Carrier to new owners, who renamed her Tide Carrier. The following year, they attempted to sail her on a demolition voyage to Gadani, but the vessel immediately lost power and nearly drifted aground in foul weather. Five of her crewmembers were injured in the evolution, including one who sustained a broken shoulder.
After her rescue, the Carrier returned to layup in the Norwegian port of Gismarvik, and she changed her name and flag. Norwegian officials later boarded her and found that she had been insured for a second demolition voyage to Gadani, Pakistan - not the listed destination for her departure.
In 2020, prosecutors charged Eide with violating the waste export controls of Norway's Pollution Control Act. They alleged that he "had knowledge that the ship would be scrapped in Asia" and that the beaching method of scrapping violates Norwegian environmental law. A district court convicted Eide and sentenced him to six months; he appealed the decision at the Gulating court of appeal, but lost again. On Wednesday, Norway's supreme court declined to hear the case, allowing the verdict and the sentence to stand.
"This is an important verdict internationally and nationally. As a large maritime nation, it is important that the Norwegian authorities contribute to combating this problem. We have a duty to counteract waste problems caused by activities in Norway, regardless of whether the damage or inconvenience occurs in or outside Norway," said Økokrim attorney Maria Bache Dahl.
In addition to Eide's penalty, Singaporean cash buyer Wirana received a fine of $700,000, and two Norwegian companies had to pay $200,000 and $50,000 (respectively).
The case may be having a deterrent effect. The Norwegian Environment Agency told Stavanger Aftenblad that shipowners' applications for legally-compliant scrapping have risen since the case against Eide was filed.
"Sales to intermediaries who specialize in scrapping ships are a common procedure for beaching, and it is worth noting that depending on the circumstances, this can also lead to penalties in Norway," Dahl said earlier this year. "It makes little difference to the criminality of the act whether a shipowner himself sells the ship directly to a wrecker on the beach in Gadani, or sells to an intermediary and criminally contributes to the execution and scrapping."