Court: Japan's Mitsui Paid to Release Ship

Joseph Keefe
Thursday, April 24, 2014
A MOL Handymax bulker, Zebra Wind. Photo: MOL.com

China Supreme Court says Mitsui pays about $29 mln; Ship released about 0030 GMT Thursday. Ship was seized over dispute dating back to 1930s. Advisor to plaintiffs says will likely demand more money.

Japan's Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd paid about $29 million for the release of a ship seized by China over a dispute that dates back to the 1930s war between the countries, China's Supreme Court said on Thursday.

The Chinese government has described the case as a simple business dispute unrelated to wartime compensation claims, but it has become a cause célèbre for activists in China seeking redress from Japan.

Mitsui paid about 2.92 billion yen ($28.5 million) in leasing fees, including interest and damages, China's Supreme Court said in a statement on its official microblog. Mitsui also paid 2.4 million yuan ($385,000) in legal fees, the court said.

Japanese media had earlier reported Mitsui paid about 4 billion yen ($39 million) to free the "Baosteel Emotion", a 226,434 deadweight-tonne ore carrier.

Tong Zeng, a veteran Chinese activist who has been leading the charge for wartime compensation from Japan and who has been advising the plaintiffs, said they would likely seek more money.

"They say that the court calculations were incorrect and believe that some of the compensation, interest and penalty interest was not included," Tong told Reuters.

He thought it was a positive sign that Mitsui had paid up so quickly and expected more lawsuits connected to the war.

"I think that henceforth the Chinese victims will continue to use legal weapons to seek justice from the Japanese government and Japanese companies."

The ship was seized on Saturday over Mitsui's alleged failure to pay compensation for lease agreements on two Chinese ships that were broken in 1937, when war broke out between Japan and China.

Mitsui said in a statement the court had released the vessel on Thursday and that the vessel departed a Chinese port at 2:55 pm Beijing time (0655 GMT). It did not say how much it had paid to resolve the case.

China's foreign ministry said that the "incident was resolved in accordance with the law".

BROKEN LEASES

The amount the court said Mitsui paid is almost half the estimated $65 million value of the two-year old carrier, according to a ship broker who asked not to be identified.

The Supreme Court statement did not name the plaintiffs in the case or say what would happen to funds paid by Mitsui.

In 1936, Chung Wei Steamship Co, a Chinese shipping firm, leased two freighters to a Japanese company that was a predecessor of Mitsui.

Both Mitsui and China's official Xinhua news agency say the ships were expropriated by the Japanese government before the leases had expired. One of the ships hit a reef and sank in 1938 while another was destroyed by a mine in 1944, Xinhua said.

In the late 1980s, Chen Zhen and Chen Chun brought a lawsuit against the company which later became Mitsui. The two descendents of Chen Shuntong, who owned Chung Wei Steamship Co, were among other plaintiffs seeking financial compensation in a Shanghai court for the loss of the two vessels.

A number of court cases demanding compensation from Japan for forced wartime labor have arisen in China and South Korea. In February, two Japanese firms were sued in what media said was the first time a Chinese court had accepted such a case.

Deteriorating Sino-Japan relations have been fuelled by a row over a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Ties have worsened since China's creation of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's December visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine honouring war criminals among Japan's war dead.

 

By Li Hui and Osamu Tsukimori

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter July 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Unipec: U.S. ANS Destined for Sinopec

Arbitrage opens after ANS discount widen on ample supplies. Unipec, the trading arm of top Asian refiner Sinopec, has bought two U.S. crude cargoes, including

G6 Updates Asia-North America West Coast Service

Two services will be merged into one until further notice / Reason is change in market demand / All other services remain unchanged. Members of the G6 Alliance

IRClass First to Certify Indian Recycling Yards per EU Standard

IRClass is amongst the first organizations in the world to certify ship recycling yards according to EU standards as an ‘Independent Verifier’. IRClass Systems and Solutions Pvt.

Bulk Carrier Trends

Maersk Line Reroutes Asia

US East Coast service through the Panama Canal to improve transit times significantly!   Maersk Line will transform its TP12 service in to a standalone, around-the-world

Safe Bulkers to Amend Loan Pact with RBS

Safe Bulkers, Inc., an international provider of marine drybulk transportation services,  has agreed with the Royal Bank of Scotland plc (RBS) to amend certain

Baltic Index Falls for Third Straight Day

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, fell for the third straight day on Thursday due to weaker rates for larger vessels.

Finance

Asia-N.Europe Box Rates Fall 8.1 pct

Freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe fell 8.1 percent to $713 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday,

Unipec: U.S. ANS Destined for Sinopec

Arbitrage opens after ANS discount widen on ample supplies. Unipec, the trading arm of top Asian refiner Sinopec, has bought two U.S. crude cargoes, including

G6 Updates Asia-North America West Coast Service

Two services will be merged into one until further notice / Reason is change in market demand / All other services remain unchanged. Members of the G6 Alliance

Maritime Security

Libya's PFG to Lift Terminal Blockades

Petroleum Facilities Guard has blocked terminals for months. Ras Lanuf, Es Sider terminals damaged by fighting. Libya's Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) will

Migrants Survivors Tell of Struggle at Sea

The bodies of 21 women and one man were brought ashore to Sicily on Friday as fellow migrants described scenes of panic and violence when water poured into their dinghy.

Rescuers Recover 17 bodies, pick up 1,128 Migrants

An Irish navy ship recovered 17 dead bodies on Thursday when it went to the aid of migrants packed onto a wooden boat off the coast of Libya, Italy's coastguard said,

Government Update

Libya's PFG to Lift Terminal Blockades

Petroleum Facilities Guard has blocked terminals for months. Ras Lanuf, Es Sider terminals damaged by fighting. Libya's Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) will

IRClass First to Certify Indian Recycling Yards per EU Standard

IRClass is amongst the first organizations in the world to certify ship recycling yards according to EU standards as an ‘Independent Verifier’. IRClass Systems and Solutions Pvt.

Great Lakes Dredging Awards Announced

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation announced that it was recently awarded four contracts with an approximate value of $93 million. Great Lakes received two

Insurance

ABS Advisory Solutions Integrate ERM

ABS Group anticipated the update to Circular A-123 from the United States (US) Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requiring US executive departments and agencies

Verweij Hoebee Groep Extends Service Portfolio with Management Audits

Verweij Hoebee Groep has expanded its service portfolio with the introduction of management audits of ship owners.   This unique prevention concept goes beyond

BP Puts Tab for Gulf Disaster at $62 Bln

BP announced today that following significant progress in resolving outstanding claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill, it can now

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1146 sec (9 req/sec)