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Bunker claim case against ‘Lila Shanghai’ owner at U.S. Court of Appeals ends; Judge left with ‘feeling of unease’

‘It is undisputed that Sing Fuels furnished fuel in Port Elizabeth that enabled the M/V Lila Shanghai to continue on its way […] and it is undisputed that Sing Fuels was never paid for this fuel,’ states Judge.

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LILA SHANGHAI

The U.S. Court of Appeals on 1 July 2022 issued a judgement for Sing Fuels Pte Ltd. v. M/V LILA SHANGHAI (IMO 9541318) where the Singapore-based energy trading company Sing Fuels Pte. Ltd. (Sing Fuels) lost a bunker claim of USD 532,000 against Autumn Harvest, owner of the bulk carrier Lila Shanghai.

Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals came to a similar conclusion following an earlier decision issued at a United States District Court during May 2021 where the Singapore firm failed to show Costas Mylonakis, a fuel broker at Windrose Marine which it dealt with, was acting as an agent of Medmar with authority to bind the Lila Shanghai.

Documents obtained by bunkering publication Manifold Times showed Autumn Harvest chartering out the Lila Shanghai to Bostomar Bulk Shipping Pte Ltd, which in turn subchartered the vessel out to MedMar Inc., between the period of 25 April 2019 to 31 December 2019.

A default of MedMar in October 2019 prompted Sing Fuels to track the vessel from October 2019 when it was still at South Africa, to India, and then to the United Kingdom and various others ports before its arrival to the United States in April 2020 where it was eventually arrested.

“In this particular case, I agree with the majority that Sing Fuels has not met its burden of showing either actual or apparent authority on the part of Mylonakis,” stated Judge Wilkinson.

“As the majority indicates, the supplier in this case did nothing to ascertain an agency relationship between Mylonakis and the owner (Autumn Harvest) or the charterer (Medmar) of the vessel. It did not show this at the time of the transaction nor did it present testimony indicating the existence of such relationship at trial.”

“Nonetheless, I am left with a feeling of unease. It is undisputed that Sing Fuels furnished fuel in Port Elizabeth that enabled the M/V Lila Shanghai to continue on its way. It is undisputed that the vessel consumed this fuel. And it is undisputed that Sing Fuels was never paid for this fuel.

“I would not want this ruling to require too much of suppliers. And I hope that courts in the future will review with skepticism attempts to obscure or confuse agency relationships on the part of those who accept necessaries and then resist strenuously any payment for them.”

Sing Fuels on Tuesday (13 September) provided Manifold Times a statement regarding the judgement:

The decision of the US courts underscores, without dispute, the effective delivery of bunkers by Sing Fuels along with its physical supply partner and its acceptance by the Vessel operated by Medmar Ltd.

The stated judgement further underscores the Maritime Lien and the rights of the bunker suppliers to arrest the Vessel to recover unpaid dues.

As noted in the judgement, the courts warned against parties attempting to obscure contractual relationships in order to avoid paying their contractual debts.

“The use of brokering intermediaries is a very common industry practice and Sing Fuels has a legitimate claim to pursue its debts, in our opinion,” said Harald Søndergaard from Hafnia Law.

Sing Fuels will continue to pursue legal remedies to recover its unpaid dues in the higher courts in the US or in other jurisdictions.

Related: Singapore-based Sing Fuels loses bunker claim against owner of ‘Lila Shanghai’

 

Photo credit: MarineTraffic / Petros Apostolou
Published: 15 September, 2022

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Newbuilding

Singapore: EPS orders ammonia, LNG dual-fuel vessels from China

EPS signed one contract for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International.

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Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (28 February) said it signed two new contract orders in a signing ceremony in Shanghai, one for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International. 

The contracts signed cover four 210,000 dwt ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers and two 111,000 dwt LNG dual-fuel LR2 oil tankers, expanding our fleet of green vessels on water. 

“These are pivotal for EPS, testament to our continued commitment towards the decarbonisation of shipping,” EPS said in a social media post.

Manifold Times recently reported EPS signing a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Related: Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 1 March 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Malaysia: Port of Tanjung Pelepas completes first LNG bunkering operation

Landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs containership operated by French shipping giant CMA CGM.

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Port of Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd (PTP), a joint venture between MMC Group and APM Terminals, on Wednesday (28 February) announced a significant milestone with the successful completion of its first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering operation. 

The landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) capacity containership operated by French shipping giant, CMA CGM.

Tan Sri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh, Chairman of PTP in a statement remarked this latest milestone demonstrates PTP’s commitment to continuously enhance its competitive advantages in an increasingly competitive global market.

“The successful completion of our first LNG bunkering operation also underscores our unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental leadership. We are proud to partner with Petronas Trading Corporation Sendirian Berhad (PETCO) and CMA CGM on this initiative and showcase PTP’s capabilities as a leading facilitator of clean and efficient maritime operations.”

“This milestone paves the way for further growth in LNG bunkering at PTP, contributing significantly to the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.”

Commenting on this achievement, Mark Hardiman, Chief Executive Officer of PTP stated this latest milestone further highlights PTP’s position as the largest transshipment hub terminal in Malaysia.

“In preparation for the LNG bunkering operation, PTP worked closely since March 2022 with PETCO and CMA CGM, as well as with various other related government agencies to organise table-top exercises (TTX) and workshops, before carrying out the deployment exercise.”

“The success of the bunkering operation is a result of the seamless collaboration and preparations involving rigorous safety procedures through in-depth operational and risk assessments, modelling, and validation. We thank PETCO, CMA CGM all other involved parties for their joint efforts in operationalising the bunkering capability and we welcome partners to work with us to accelerate maritime decarbonisation,” said Hardiman.

Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) is Malaysia’s largest transshipment hub with the capacity to handle 13 million TEUs annually. The port delivers reliable, efficient, and advanced services to major shipping lines and box operators, providing shippers in Malaysia and abroad with extensive connectivity to the global market. PTP is currently ranked 15th among the world top container ports.

 

Photo credit: Port of Tanjung Pelepas
Published: 1 March 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Wallenius Wilhelmsen to order four additional methanol DF PCTCs

Newbuilds will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.

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Wallenius Wilhelmsen PCTC order

Roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen on Tuesday (27 February) declared options to build four additional next-generation Shaper Class pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) vessels.

The 9,300 CEU methanol dual fuel vessels can utilise alternative fuel sources, such as methanol, upon delivery. They will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.

“Together with our customers we are committed to further shaping our industry and accelerating towards net zero. These new vessels are a vital part of that journey,” says Xavier Leroi, EVP & COO Shipping Services.

This latest commitment brings the total number of Shaper Class vessels currently on order with Jinling Shipyard (Jiangsu) to eight. Wallenius Wilhelmsen also retains further options.

The first of the Shaper Class vessels already ordered are expected to be delivered in the second half of 2026. The four additional vessels under the declared options will be delivered between May and November 2027.

 

Photo credit: Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Published: 1 March 2024

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