Singaporean firm fined in Norway for illegal attempt to export vessel for scrapping

Photo: Norwegian Coastal Administration

A Singapore-based company has accepted and paid a NOK 7 million (US$770,000) fine imposed by the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) for violation of the Pollution Control Act and the General Civil Penal Code as a consequence of an attempt to illegally export a commercial vessel for scrapping.

In 2017, an attempt was made by Wirana Shipping Corporation to illegally export the barge carrier Harrier, previously named Tide Carrier, from Høylandsbygd in Norway in order to scrap the ship on a beach in Gadani, Pakistan. The illegal export was revealed when the ship suffered an engine failure and started to drift outside Jæren in Rogaland.

NMA inspectors subsequently detained the ship due to its condition. Moreover, an invalid certificate of nationality from the Comoros was presented along with false class certificates from the Union Marine Class Society.

It was discovered that Wirana deliberately deceived Norwegian authorities by presenting false documentation proving that the vessel had complied with all requirements of the international conventions included in the Regulations on Port State Control.

Wirana was the commercial manager for the voyage and was in charge of the ship’s route, the purpose of the voyage, and its execution. The company buys discarded ships and sells them to scrap yards at beaches in India and Pakistan.

Harrier‘s owner was a company registered in Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Wirana used a management company to undertake the voyage.

As Harrier started to drift outside the beaches of Jæren, Norwegian authorities said they would not allow the ship to leave Norway without permission.

As a result, the chief financial officer at Wirana made a fictitious agreement stating that the ship would be put in operational use outside Africa, referring to two statements from third parties supporting the Africa agreement. The NMA claims this was not correct, as the ship was in fact being exported for scrapping.

The fine comprises two cases of false statements to public authorities, as these documents were presented to the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment.

Furthermore, the fine includes a violation of the Pollution Control Act based on the risk of pollution caused by the voyage. This was due to necessary maintenance of the engine being performed when the ship was anchored at Feistein outside Klepp with no tug on standby.

Harrier had been laid up for ten years prior to the 2017 voyage.

According to the Norwegian Coastal Administration, there was an imminent risk of acute pollution as the ship started to drift. As stated in the fine, there were 1,500 cubic metres of oily liquids in the tanks of the ship.

The oily liquids were confirmed to be waste that the vessel’s crew had also attempted to export illegally from Norway.

The fine has already been paid, as Wirana had provided security in case of termination of encumbrance, pursuant to a decision made by the Oslo District Court before the ship left Norway in July 2018.

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