Amazon fined $84,000 for shipping li-ion batteries by air

Amazon UK Services Ltd has been fined £65,000 for attempting to ship dangerous goods on passenger planes, including lithium-ion batteries and aerosols.

The retailer was found during sentencing at Southwark Crown Court last week to have breached four UK civil aviation rules for the offence of “causing dangerous goods to be delivered for carriage in an aircraft.”

The offending items included spare batteries for mobile phones or tablets, as well as a can of Dove deodorant and a hair mousse made by Tresemme, which were sent on a mixture of domestic and international flights, according to the Press Association. Each item was intercepted by staff working for Royal Mail or UPS during routine screening between January 2014 and June 2015, before they could be transported.

“Under the right circumstances the batteries, even new, undamaged batteries, could overheat, potentially causing burns, explosion or a fire,” the prosecutor Martin Goudie told the court, PA reported.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s general counsel Kate Staples warned that the UK took a hard line on shipping goods of this nature on passenger aircraft. She said:

Around the world, retailers and online traders must comply with international restrictions, which prohibit the shipping of dangerous goods on passenger aircraft, which pose a flight safety risk.

Whenever issues are identified the CAA works with companies to make sure those issues are addressed, however, if improvements are not made, we will not hesitate to enforce the law in order to protect the travelling public.

The safety of aviation and the public is paramount and we will continue to work closely with retailers and online traders to ensure they understand the regulations and have robust processes in place so their items can be shipped safely.

Amazon UK Services was convicted under the Air Navigation (Dangerous Goods) Regulations 2002 and has also been ordered to pay the CAA £60,000 in legal costs. The company was cleared of another charge, while the jury reportedly failed to reach a decision on a further six. In 2015 Amazon UK Services had a turnover of just under £1 billion, with a profit of £38 million.

Following sentencing, Amazon said: “We ship millions of products every week and are confident in the sophisticated technologies and processes we have developed to detect potential shipping hazards. We are constantly working to further improve and will continue to work with the CAA in this area.”

This post originated on Ars Technica UK

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