Over the past year, business losses from illegal actions of the State Environmental Service amounted to 200 million dollars. The co-founder of S&P Investment Risk Management Agency, PhD, MBA, business risk advisor, lawyer Natalia Osadchaya tells how the scheme for stopping ships in ports works.
In our previous publications, we have repeatedly stated about the difficulties business had encountered in its interaction with the Environmental Inspectorate. Using the example of one of our cases, we revealed how ecologists delicately replace concepts with only one purpose – to suspend the vessel’s departure from the port of Ukraine. Since the publication of the first article one year has passed. Unfortunately, during this time there has been no positive change. We have to go back once more, analyze, predict and figure out what is the catch. The irony is that a year later new client turned to us again with a painfully familiar problem – stopping the ship in the port.
Our client is the grain cargo owner. The ship was stopped at the port, because the seal “radiological monitoring the import/export is prohibited” magically appeared on the bill of lading. It should be noted that according to the current legislation, this type of cargo is not subject to environmental monitoring, the radiological monitoring is needed only if the cargo begins to emit the radiation. The cargo of our client successfully passed the automated control in the port. So, the State Ecological Inspectorate stamped the seal “radiological monitoring the import/export is prohibited” on the bill of lading without any grounds indicating the radioactivity of the cargo not allowing to leave the port.
Like a year ago, only after the official appeal of the cargo owner to the State Ecological Inspectorate, things began to clear up. It turned out that the State Environmental Inspectorate does not have any claims to the cargo, but the stamp on the export ban was put on the bill of lading, because the ship violated the environmental legislation. According to the supervisory authority, the ship polluted the country’s sea waters. Despite the fact that there were no problems with the cargo, the ship continued to stay in the port, when both the owner of the cargo and the shipowner suffered enormous losses.
According to the current legislation, ecologists had to draw up a protocol on the administrative violation and calculate damages caused by the ship to the environment. However, nobody had the right to detain the vessel in the port.
In fact, nobody presented to the owner neither the act of sampling water nor the protocol for measuring indicators of the composition and characteristics of the waters. There was no fixation of the offence by the vessel, drawing up a protocol on the administrative violation, a fine or calculation of damages… There was only a stamp “radiological monitoring the import/export is prohibited” on the bill of lading and the week of staying the ship in the port with total losses exceeding 150 000 USD.
Answering to official requests what became the basis for stopping the ship, ecologists said without hesitation, that the environmental inspection does not have another tool to detain the ship, that’s why there is a stamp applied that specifically refers to the radiological control of the goods.
Illegal actions of officials lead to disastrous consequences. According to the information published by the Office of Effective Regulation on the Facebook, it is said that business losses from illegal actions of the State Environmental Service using the stamp “Radiological monitoring the import/export is prohibited” exceed 200,000,000 dollars a year. That’s not counting daily losses of the staying the ship and cargo in the port, which range from 15 to 30 thousand dollars a day.
The new Law of Ukraine №2530-VIII from 09.06.2018 “On Amendments the Customs Code of Ukraine and some other laws of Ukraine regarding the adoption of a “single window” facility and optimization of the implementation of control procedures for the movement of goods across the customs border of Ukraine” should have shed light on the situation. Unfortunately, the Law only made minor adjustments to the work of ecologists, but the result has not changed – they continue to stop ships in ports unreasonably. Actually, today, instead of the stamp “radiological monitoring the import/export is prohibited” ecologists decide to ban the ship from leaving the port. Although they have this right only in one case (as before), if the cargo emits the radiation (detection of the fact the radiation has been exceeded) and this fact is established by the Customs authorities.
What about our case, we have made maximum effort to sail the ship from the port. The issue of bringing to responsibility public officials involved in the illegal stopping of the ship and cargo and recovery of the business losses remains open. Until the above practice and clear position of the business is formed, the system will continue to work as it has worked, even with slight changes. The final choice remains for the business, as always. As always, the final choice should be taken by the business.