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Romanian police seize more refrigerant

ROMANIA: Customs officers in Romania continue to intercept illegal refrigerant being smuggled into the country from Ukraine.

Over the last three days, border guards and customs workers at the Vicovu de Sus border crossing point in Suceava have found over 150 refrigerant cylinders in two separate minibuses travelling in from Ukraine. 

On Thursday (May 11), officers discovered 144 refrigerant cylinders, along with 373.8 litres of alcohol in a Mercedes-Benz minibus driven by a Ukrainian national. Then, yesterday (May 13), officers discovered nine cylinders of refrigerant onboard a Mercedes-Benz Vito, registered in Ukraine and driven by a Portuguese citizen.

Part of the confiscated shipment from May 11 (above) and May 13 (top)

The authorities have not released details of any of the refrigerant found but photographs suggest in included R134a, R410A and possibly R32.

The border police have filed a criminal case against both men for the crimes of attempted smuggling and transportation and transit of dangerous substances and preparations.

Customs officers have previously been criticised for failing to tackle the illegal trade in HFCs. In 2021, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) accused enforcement authorities in Romania of “alarming complacency” after naming the country as a major illegal EU entry point for Chinese-made refrigerants. In 2020, Romania set maximum fines of €6,000 for breaches of the F-gas regulation 517/2014 after the European Commission sent letters of formal notice for failing to adopt penalties. 

Related stories:

Romanian police seize illegal refrigerant – 2 April 2023
ROMANIA: Border police from Suceava have seized 12 cylinders of illegal refrigerant in the Romanian town of Vicovu de Sus on the border with Ukraine. Read more…

EIA slams Romanian inaction on illegal refrigerant trade – 17 September 2021
UK: The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has accused enforcement authorities in Romania of “alarming complacency” in failing to tackle the illegal trade in HFC refrigerants. Read more…

EIA exposes corruption in Romania’s criminal HFC trade – 8 July 2021
UK: The Environmental Investigation Agency has uncovered “systematic corruption” of customs officials in the illegal importation of refrigerants into Europe, with Romania identified as one of the major entry points. Read more…

Romania seizes 9 tonnes of refrigerant from Turkey12 March 2021
ROMANIA: Authorities in Romania yesterday intercepted a truck smuggling 1,300 cylinders of refrigerant from Turkey. Read more…

Romania sets €6k maximum fine for F-gas violations25 March 2020
ROMANIA: Fines to a maximum of just over €6,000 have been set by the Romanian government for contraventions of the European F-gas regulation (517/2014) to control HFC refrigerants. Read more…

Illegal refrigerant seized for “lack of documentation” – 18 July 2019
ROMANIA: Border police in southern Romania seized 86kg of illegal refrigerant at the Calafat border crossing point with Bulgaria yesterday. Read more…

Romanian customs seize 95 refrigerant cylinders22 July 2019
ROMANIA: Border police in Romania made a further seizure of refrigerant yesterday (Sunday) at the Petea border crossing point with Hungary. Read more…

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