Despite no further European court ruling on the complaints of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), another investigation was carried out in Germany, where it has been determined that the world’s biggest yacht was built with illegally sourced teak from Burma.
According to the UK-based Independent, a German public prosecutor said that a Russian billionaire’s yacht, built in Germany’s Nobiskrug shipyard, used wood supplied by the Teak Solutions Company—one of the thirteen companies that the EIA filed complaints against for failing to comply with European Union Timber Regulations (EUTR) due diligence obligations.
The Independent said, “Timber experts analyzed samples of wood used in the construction of Sailing Yacht A, a 143-meter sail-assisted motor yacht believed to be the largest in the world, and determined from examining the composition and ring structure that it did not come from a legal planation.”
“This investigation is independent of the case we [the EIA] submitted to the formal EUTR enforcement agencies in Germany in October 2016,” said Faith Doherty, the forest team leader with EIA.
It has not yet concluded the legal case against the Teak Solutions company in Spain, as the case was transferred from Germany to Spain because the company branch supplying the wood was registered in Spain.
The EIA filed 13 cases in courts in Denmark, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Only a case against the company Keflico in Denmark was concluded last month, (on March 13) after the Danish authorities found that the teak supplied in market did not comply with the EUTR due diligence obligations.
Prior to that, last November, a Swedish court fined its trading company, Almträ Nordic, for bringing wood products to the European market that lacked adequate proof of having been legally harvested.
“We are awaiting the outcome of the investigations in these countries,” said Doherty.
The EIA submitted a formal complaint against Teak Solutions in October last year, alleging direct violation of the EURT. The information included a specific shipment to Nobiskrug boatyard in Germany for the construction of Sailing Yacht A.
Last month, Burma’s ministry of natural resources and environmental conservation (MONREC) said their timber traceability system has been working well, as it was designed to allow for control of the extraction and trading of timber and timber products from the forest of origin to point of export.