The release of Lighthouse Winmore, a Hong Kong-registered product tanker formerly chartered by Taiwan-based Billions Bunker Group, will have to be decided by the central government in Beijing, says a High Court Judge.
“The [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] is not a ‘state’ or ‘flag state’ of the vessel,” stated Justice Anderson Chow Ka-ming, as quoted by the South China Morning Post, adding it was the central government’s task to negotiate for the vessel’s release with the UN.
Justice Chow was responding to a lawsuit filed by the vessel’s Hong Kong owner Win More Shipping against the Hong Kong Marine Department (HKMD) over alleged negligence.
The Lighthouse Winmore was chartered by the Billions Bunker Group to deliver marine fuel to North Korean vessel Sam Jong 2 in 2017 and has been detained at Yeosu, South Korea since 24 November.
Win More Shipping claimed HKMD failed to demand the release of the vessel from the United Nations even though it wrote a letter explaining its innocence.
The owner of Billions Bunker Group has been charged at the Taiwan High Court (Kaohsiung Branch) in July, 2018.
Related: Hong Kong Marine Department sued by Win More Shipping
Related: Taiwan: Owner of Billions Bunker Group charged in court
Related: Bunker fuel involved in sanctioned North Korea trade
Related: Taiwan-based Billions Bunker Group de-registered
Related: Billions Bunker Group registered tankers denied port entry
Photo credit: MarineTraffic / iwan afwan
Published: 6 May, 2019
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