Police Investigate Hazardous Waste in Rotterdam Bunkers
Dutch Marine Police are trying to keep hazardous chemicals out of bunker fuel.
Dutch Marine Police have told the Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua) that earlier in May they organised a three day investigation into the illegal practice of blending hazardous substances into bunker fuel at the Port of Rotterdam.
30 vessels were reported to have been checked with Hans Tuinder, head of the Criminal Investigation department for the Marine Police, saying that in "12 cases, documents were forged, or the environmental law was violated."
The action follows a 2011 study by independent Dutch environmental research and consultancy agency CE Delft (CE) which showed vessels had been bunkered with product contaminated by hazardous waste materials.
Xinhua, the official press agency of the People's Republic of China, quoted Marine officer Tim Tichelaar as saying, "There is strong evidence that many ships blend their waste material with heavy fuel oil.
Tim Tichelaar, Dutch Marine Officer
[It is] extremely difficult to get hold of these illegal activities
That is very lucrative for them because you not only don't need to pay for delivering your waste material, but also will even get paid for the blended oil."
Tichelaar also said a lack of relevant legislation made it "extremely difficult to get hold of these illegal activities."
International standards govern the composition of bunker fuel including potentially hazardous chemicals.
Eelco Leemans, director of independent environmental organisation Stichting De Noordzee (North Sea Foundation), said he believed the standards "are not satisfactory."
"These standards only set maximum limits on fuel sulphur content, which is just a small part of the emitted particles of waste material."