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 Reporter February 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Hike in Service Tax at Indian Ports

  The Indian Ministry of Finance has advised an increase in service tax and applicable at all ports. The effective date has not yet been announced. The

Wärtsilä BWM Systems for Chemical Tankers

A series of eight new 33,000 DWT chemical tankers, currently under construction in Asia, will feature Wärtsilä Aquarius UV Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS)

Vessels for the Future – New R&D Initiative

Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond, both maritime and inland waterways will be under ever increasing pressure, as we use them for transport, recreation and commercially.

Bulk Carrier Trends

Faster Rotterdam-St Petersburg link

The Rotterdam (Netherlands)-based neutral consolidator FPS Famous Pacific Shipping has launched a new, weekly ocean LCL service from Rotterdam to St Petersburg

25,000-TEU Ships Possible, Not Practical

Maersk Line CEO Soren Skou said ships with capacities of 25,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units are possible but not practical today, and that he expects 18,000-19,

'K' Line to Shrink Container Fleet

Japan's third-biggest shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha ('K' Line) plans to beef up its LNG and bulker vessels over the next four years, while downsizing its container shipping fleet.

Finance

Hike in Service Tax at Indian Ports

  The Indian Ministry of Finance has advised an increase in service tax and applicable at all ports. The effective date has not yet been announced. The

Vessels for the Future – New R&D Initiative

Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond, both maritime and inland waterways will be under ever increasing pressure, as we use them for transport, recreation and commercially.

“Bright Ideas” program - Ash Center - Harvard University

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized the Port of Houston Partners

Maritime Security

Ships to Declare Weapons at Egyptian Ports

All ships calling at Egyptian Red Sea ports or transiting the Suez Canal must declare any weapons onboard to Safaga Port Authority. As per the Egyptian Maritime Security Committee ruling,

Clyde Marine Training Reports Short Course Milestone

Clyde Marine Training informs it has reached a milestone this week, welcoming its 10,000th person to successfully complete one of its marine short courses. Christopher

Italy to Begin Naval Exercises off Libya

Italy will begin annual naval exercises this week near the coast of Libya, where a breakdown in order has allowed tens of thousands of migrants to try to reach

Government Update

Hike in Service Tax at Indian Ports

  The Indian Ministry of Finance has advised an increase in service tax and applicable at all ports. The effective date has not yet been announced. The

Manila Port Congestion Eased: Palace

Malacañang has declared that the congestion at the Port of Manila has been resolved, noting the various measures that the government and the private sector have implemented to address the problem.

Canadian Navy Delays Opening of Arctic facility

Canada's military has again delayed the opening of a major new Arctic port, a sign the government is struggling to assert sovereignty over a remote resource-rich region.

Insurance

Mariners Transiting Delaware River Cautioned

The Captain of the Port (COTP) Delaware Bay is notifying mariners that Upper Delaware River lighted buoy 33 (LLNR 3875) and Upper Delaware River lighted buoy

Top Five Most Costly Insurance Claims

The TT Club has alerted the supply chain industry to a persistence of claims in a handful of loss types. The international transport, freight and logistics insurance

BWMC's Entry Into Force Imminent

Jacqueline Tan, Senior Claims Executive at the UK P&I Club, commented on the ballast water management controls coming into force:  “The coming into force of the

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.1961 sec (5 req/sec)