The special Rotterdam Maritime Services Community (RMSC) masterclass on Friday May 24 about the Rotterdam Maritime Chamber proved to be a great combination of gaining new knowledge and networking. Senior judge, Mr Christine Sikkel, provided insight in how the court operates. In addition she elaborated on the ‘towards maritime legal experts’ project.
The Rotterdam District Court has well-established expert knowledge of maritime issues. Since 2017, all maritime related legal topics are concentrated exclusively in Rotterdam. This should enhance the quality and efficiency of legal proceedings and decisions relating these issues.
During the presentation, senior judge, Mr Christine Sikkel, provided insight into the project ‘towards maritime legal experts”. For the lawyers and legal advisors in the audience it was a given fact, but for others, there were still questions about this project. Judge Sikkel also explained that the Rotterdam District Court has the option of conducting cases in English.
This can be a major advantage compared to going to court in London, both in time as in costs. Nevertheless, there is still work to be done for Dutch legal experts, as most contracts or charterparties still have English Law as their primary option.
Next, AKD’s Jan Kromhout, member of the RMSC and experienced transactional lawyer, elaborated on the changing rules and regulation regarding decommissioning or recycling of ships. Multiple conventions were discussed, and the recent conviction of Dutch shipowner Seatrade showed that when a ship is sailing with the intention to get recycled, it can be seen as waste and therefore has to be treated as such, according to Jan.
The Netherlands and EU are taking the lead on the discussion on how to safely scrap ships, amongst others regarding the EU regulation on Ship Recycling (EU 1257/2013 ). Ships can only be recycled or scrapped at an EU approved shipyards and with a sound ship-recycling-plan.
Also interesting, Jan Kromhout explained the evolving role of financial institutes when financing a ship – Stakeholders are getting more accountable and there has to be a plan for the end-of-life of the ship. This will surely become more common in the years to come.
The afternoon ended with a networking drink with a great view over Rotterdam!