Background: the EWSR
In March 2018 the Rotterdam District Court found reefer operator Seatrade and two of its directors criminally liable for breach of the EU Waste Shipment Regulation (EWSR). The decision was the first time that a shipowner has been held criminally liable under the EWSR for the illegal export of vessels for demolition. It has thus placed focus on the EWSR, its restrictive terms and their implications for the scrapping of vessels.
The EWSR lays down rules for controlling the shipment of waste. It places a trade ban on:
a) exports of waste for disposal to non-EU countries;
b) exports of hazardous waste for recovery or disposal to non-OECD countries; and
c) imports of waste from states that are not part of the EU or OECD.
It also imposes restrictions and control procedures on exports of waste for recovery to non-EU countries.
The EWSR defines its scope territorially. Whether or not it applies to a shipment of waste depends on the “origin, destination and route of the shipment”. However, after 31 December 2018 this will no longer be the case for ships flying the flag of an EU Member State.