Royal Caribbean Facing Major Fine

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The Netherlands has fined Royal Caribbean cruise line for violation of labour rules and regulations for foreign workers.

The cruise liner, owner of the world’s biggest cruise ship Oasis of the Seas, will have to pay at least  €600,000 (USD 767,000) in fines for not having adequate residence papers for its workers, who have in addition been working excessive hours, according to Dutch Law firm Kernkamp Advocaten.

Oasis of the Seas arrived at the Keppel Verlome shipyard in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on September 30th for two-week routine maintenance work.

Once in the Netherlands, the ship and its crew were subject to Dutch legislation.

At the end of the two week period,  inspectors of Social Affairs and Labor inspected the vessel took place establishing that Royal Caribbean Cruises was in breach of the Dutch Foreign Employment Act.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment 77 Philippines and 8 South-Americans worked without a working permit.

Whereas, the excessive hours they were worked reached up to 16 hours per day.

“Employers of foreigners working without a working permit are usually fined with a € 12.000 fine per person, so dependent on the exact findings, the fine could amount one million euro’s. Others may also fall within the scope of the definition of employer under the Dutch Foreign Workers Act, and if this is the case, they are usually fined too,” the firm said.

The Dutch Law firm claims that the fine might not be implemented as, under the law, there is an exemption for crew members aboard sea going vessels.

“In a similar case ruled by the Council of State in 2012, the fine was quashed, as the authorities had failed to render sufficient evidence that the persons aboard were not crew members, that performed routine crew activities, like daily minor maintenance to a vessel.”

At this stage it is unknown whether Royal Caribbean Cruises will challenge the fine.

The repaired Oasis has left Rotterdam for Southampton, UK where it arrived on October 15th.

World Maritime News Staff

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