Intelligence supplied by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has enabled Romanian authorities to intercept over 76 tonnes of illegal HFC refrigerant.
Thought to be the largest seizure in Europe since the F-gas phase down, the 76,045kg of illicit refrigerant gases included R134a, R404a, R407C and R507.
OLAF investigators had been monitoring a suspicious shipment from China that had been discharged in Turkey, removed from its container and re-routed by truck to the EU.
The customs documents accompanying several shipments revealed that they were destined for five different consignees in Romania. Four of the consignees were not registered to receive imports of these refrigerants, while the fifth one would have significantly exceeded its quota for 2020 with its share of the shipment. In addition, in most of the cases, the refrigerant gases were packaged in illegal non-refillable cylinders.
OLAF is said to have alerted the Directorate General of Customs in Romania, which in turn liaised with the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests as well as with the National Environmental Guard, to prevent the shipment reaching the EU market.
“This is the second case this summer where OLAF intelligence has kept several tonnes of illicit refrigerant gases off the EU market,” commented OLAF director general, Ville Itälä. “The fight against the illegal import of HFCs into the EU is one of OLAF’s operational priorities.
“The environmental impact of these illicit imports can be devastating. Preventing them from entering the EU is OLAF’s contribution to protecting citizens, the environment and legitimate trade,” he added.
Last month OLAF was involved in the seizure of 14 tonnes of illegal refrigerant in the port of Rotterdam.-Cooling Post