On 19 March 2020, the Hague District Court set aside the decision of the Inspectorate SZW to impose a EUR 992,000 fine on Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) in the Oasis of the Seas case. The Inspectorate SZW had imposed the fine on the presumption that RCCL should have applied for work permits for the members of the “riding teams” to perform work on board of the “Oasis of the Seas” cruise vessel when it was drydocked at Keppel Verolme (now Damen Verolme). These teams are composed of crew members specialising in the periodic replacement of carpetry and repairing furniture in the passenger areas of the cruise vessel, etc. (known as “refurbishment work”).
The District Court set aside the decision on the lex certa principle. This principle establishes that potential offenders - civilians and companies alike - should know whether an act they intend to commit is prohibited or not. The District Court held that this also entails that potential offenders should know - or be informed - when an exception applies. Given the wording of the exception to the obligation to apply for work permits laid down in Article 1(1)(b) of the Foreign Nationals (Employment) (Implementation) Decree (Besluit uitvoering Wet arbeid vreemdelingen, or BuWav) and the explanatory memorandum to the BuWav, the District Court considered that RCCL was justified to assume that the members of its "riding teams” were excepted.