Cruseliner Royal Caribbean Wrongly Fined

Dutch Court ruled:

THIS week the Dutch court in The Hague ruled that the American cruise liner Royal Caribbean was wrongly fined € 992,000 for assumed violation of rules and regulation related to working conditions. In 2014, the Inspectorate for working conditions levied the fine on base the Labour Act for aliens. At the time the inspectors of the department of the Dutch ministry of social affairs and employment visited the Royal Caribbean owned Oasis of the Seas, while it was docked at Keppel Verolme in Botlek Rotterdam (now Damen), only to find that foreign workers on board the cruise ship did not have the proper Dutch work permits. However, it appears that the foreign workers within the so-called Royal Caribbean riding crew were legally allowed to refurbish the inside of the cruise ship without having the proper Dutch work permit.

Lawyer Gerdien van der Voet and her AKD lawyers colleague Pieter Huys have acted in the case Royal Caribbean vs. the Dutch ministry of social affairs. She explains the ruling of the The Hague court saying: “the cruise liner could assume that it was not necessary to apply for a work permit. The exception to the rule is laid down in the Article 1e(1)(c) of the Decree
implementing the Law on the Employment of Foreign Nationals”. Dr. Van der Voet added to regret that the Dutch trade Union FNV suggests to go to a higher court for reconsideration of the ruling. “In this case there was no such thing of displacement of the labour market. If that would be the case, contractors would not have issued the proper work permits.”

Another serious argument against going to a higher court is that employment within the Dutch maritime cluster is likely to be seriously affected. As it is, ship repair – and ship building yards have lost a turnover of € 100 million per annum. Cruise liners avoided Dutch shipyards to have maintenance and repair work done, since 2014 when the Inspectorate levied the high fine. Even the Dutch ministry became aware of that, and of the fact that the EU implemented the regulation international trade in July 2017. A spokesman for the ministry said that this regulation can be applied for such projects as these for specific work on board cruise ships in dock.

© Janny Kok