Following the granting of injunctions last week against Navigator Gas Management
(NGM) and Vela Energy Holdings Ltd in a dispute over the proposed long-term chartering of five gas tankers
in the Navigator Gas Transport (NGT) fleet formerly managed by NGM, the owners of the tankers and their charterers, Montanari, have won a further important ruling in the English high court. In a contested application between owners and NGM, the court said that the owners had made out a reasonable case that the Montanari charters had been concluded. Although this was not a full trial of the issue, owners and Montanari see this as lending further weight to their continuing ability to trade the vessels successfully on the market. The court also ruled that NGM could exercise its right of freedom of speech to make its own contentions, but owners are confident that, since both Montanari and owners are satisfied that a contract between them exists, the market will not pay too much attention to what NGM might have to say on the subject. Although NGM continued to assert that its management contracts had not been validly terminated, its assertion did not prevent the judge from giving his preliminary ruling on the existence of the bareboat charters. It is understood that those charters have now been converted into long-term time charters, and that the vessels will be delivered to Montanari in the near future.