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Malaysia: Success of limitation action following oil spillage damages

Owner of the vessel MT “Trident Star” brought a limitation action to limit its liability regarding pollution damage or loss in relation to a spillage of fuel oil carried on board the vessel in 2016.

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The following article was written by Rajasingam Gothandapan, who is a partner at law firm Shearn Delamore & Co, elaborating on a 2016 case where a plaintiff brought a limitation action to limit its liability regarding pollution damage or loss in relation to a fuel oil spillage incident, on the basis that the incident had occurred by no act of omission of the plaintiff: 

Facts

Plaintiff one was the owner of the vessel MT "Trident Star" (the vessel). On 24 August 2016, while the vessel was berthed at the terminal, a spillage of fuel oil carried on board the vessel as cargo occurred (the incident).(1)

On 7 November 2016, plaintiff one brought a limitation action pursuant to the Merchant Shipping (Liability and Compensation for Oil and Bunker Oil Pollution) Act (MSA) 1994(2) to limit its liability regarding pollution damage or loss in relation to the incident, in accordance with part I of the rst schedule to the MSA 1994, on the basis that the incident had occurred by no act or omission of plaintiff one.

On 17 February 2017, plaintiff one's limitation action was allowed. On 21 March 2017, plaintiff one set up a limitation fund by depositing into court a security for the amount of 4,510,000 special drawing rights (or its Malaysian ringgit equivalent as at the date of constitution of the limitation fund) plus interest at the rate of 5% per annum from 24 August 2016 up to and including the date of the constitution of the limitation fund. The security was in the form of a letter of undertaking (LOU) dated 16 March 2017 issued by the insurer of the vessel, the Shipowners' Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (Luxembourg).

On 11 May 2017, the court further ordered for advertisements pertaining to the limitation fund be placed in two local newspapers. The advertisements provided that all persons claiming oil pollution damage or loss resulting from the incident should:

  • enter an appearance in this action;
  • file claims; or
  • take out a notice of application to set aside the limitation decree.

In response to the advertisements, within the time limit, 19 defendants entered the limitation action to claim for loss and damage from the plaintiffs arising from the incident. None of them disputed plaintiff one's right to limit its liability.

In view of the possibility that plaintiff one's liability to pay compensation could exceed the limitation fund,(3) plaintiff two (ie, the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1992) was added to the action.

Subsequently, all the defendants' claims were settled by plaintiff one on condential terms and all the defendants led their notices of discontinuance. No payment was made out from the limitation fund.

Plaintiff one's application

Plaintiff one sought an order that the LOU be discharged and be returned by the registrar to plaintiff one's solicitors for cancellation with liberty to apply. Plaintiff one also sought leave to discontinue the present action with no order as to costs. Plaintiff one submitted that the application herein required the invocation of the inherent jurisdiction of the court under order 92 rule 4 of the Rules Of Court 2012 as there was no provision for the discharge and release of the security that constituted the limitation fund.

Decision

The court held that the LOU should be discharged and returned to plaintiff one for cancellation, as they had settled all the claims made by the defendants without recourse to the LOU or the limitation fund. The time limit for bringing claims had also expired, as the advertisements had been published ve years previously and the time limit for making claims had expired 60 days after the publication of the advertisements. Thus, plaintiff one's application was allowed and the action was discontinued.

For further information on this topic please contact Rajasingam Gothandapani at Shearn Delamore & Co by telephone (+60 3 2027 2911) or email ([email protected]). The Shearn Delamore & Co website can be accessed at www.shearndelamore.com.

Endnotes

(1) Rising Star Shipping Sdn Bhd & Anor v Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd & Ors [2022] MLJU 1299
(2) Section 6(2) read together with section 7(1).
(3) Pursuant to section 19 of the MSA 1994 and by way of a court order dated 21 September 2017. 

Editor’s Note: This article was originally edited by, and first published on www.lexology.com/commentary

 

Photo credit: Shearn Delamore & Co
Published: 10 February, 2023

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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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