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Customs seize 14 tonnes of illegal HFC in Rotterdam

NETHERLANDS: The European Anti-Fraud Office’s crackdown on the illegal trade in HFCs has led to the seizure of 14 tonnes of illegal refrigerants at the port of Rotterdam.

It has not been revealed the exact refrigerants seized but photographs indicate the shipment included R410A, R32 and R404A. It involved 1,150 cylinders, all of them illegal non-refillables.

The successful seizure is said to have been the result of close cooperation between the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and authorities in the Netherlands, Lithuania and Poland.

OLAF’s investigation began when it identified a suspicious cargo destined for a consignee in Lithuania that was not registered to receive imports of this nature. In addition, the shipment coming from China was initially discharged in the port of Hamburg and declared in transit towards Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, despite the fact that the final destination was Lithuania. Further investigations established that the cargo was destined for a storage facility in Poland. 

“The fight against the illegal import of HFCs into the EU is one of OLAF’s operational priorities, in line with the European Commission’s ambition to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050 with its European Green Deal,” said OLAF director-general, Ville Itälä.  

“The successful seizure of these dangerous imports once again underlines the importance of accurate intelligence from OLAF and good cooperation with national authorities in keeping people safe,” he added.

After months of denying that the illegal trade was a significant problem, the European Commission’s Anti Fraud Office announced in January that the fight against illegal imports of HFCs was one of its key operational priorities. Since then, it has had a number of notable successes across Europe.

Related stories:

Italian crackdown on illegal HFC continues – 7 February 2020
ITALY: Customs officials in Italy have made further seizures of quota-busting refrigerants, this time in Varese. Read more…

Italian customs seize 10 tons of illegal HFC refrigerant –  6 February 2020
ITALY: Officers from Milan’s customs and monopolies agency – Agenzia Dogane e Monopoli – claim to have seized around 10 tons of illegal HFC refrigerant. Read more…

EC fraud office makes illegal F-gas imports a priority26 January 2020
BELGIUM: The fight against illegal imports of HFC refrigerants into the EU is said to have been made an operational priority for OLAF, the European Commission’s anti-fraud office. Read more…

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