The Hague District Court Ruling: fines for cruise ship Oasis of the Seas thrown out

mr. B.J. (Bart) Maeson

Let the (cruise)ships come back to the Netherlands for maintenance! The district court of The Hague  was correct to pronounce in its ruling of 19 March 2020 (only available in Dutch) that the State Secretary of SZW (in fact the Dutch labour inspectorate) was unsuccessful in the long-standing issue of the alleged illegal employment on board the Oasis of the Seas during maintenance work in the Netherlands (the work dates from the end of 2014!).

None of this is rocket science, but rather based purely on the lex certa principle in relation to the applicable work permit exemptions for the charter service on board a sea-going vessel (art. 1(1) (c) of the Implementing Decree of the Foreigners Employment Act) and means of transport in international traffic (art. 1(1) (b) of the Implementing Decree of the Foreigners Employment Act). In doing so, the district court of The Hague is more or less in line with the district court of Rotterdam in its ‘dredging rulings’ of 24 December 2013. A sound ruling that anyone who knows this matter could have predicted (and was predicted – by many – including us), but the Inspectorate SZW had to be stubborn again.

And those who play with fire often get burned, so they are going to have to transfer more than a million euros to the client account of AKD N.V. of which law firm the attorneys Pieter Huys and Gerdien van der Voet argued this case. Congratulations!

Update 20 April 2020: the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment confirms that it will not take the matter to a higher court, but also immediately placed an incorrect message on the website of the Inspection SZW (only available on the Dutch website). Talk about totally ignoring and irrevocable court ruling. To be continued…

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