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

Legal

New Binding Law of The Sea Agreement Advanced

WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (Singapore, 9-11 November 2015) Will Enable Industry to Organize its Input to this Major New Ocean Treaty Development The U.N.

Oceans Can’t Take Any more: Researchers Fear Fundamental Change

Our oceans need an immediate and substantial reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. If that doesn’t happen, we could see far-reaching and largely

Teekay LNG Partners Declares Distribution

Teekay GP LLC, the general partner of Teekay LNG Partners L.P. has declared a cash distribution of $0.70 per unit for the quarter ended June 30, 2015. The cash distribution is payable on August 14,

Bulk Carrier Trends

New Record Year in Dry Bulk Demolition Underway - BIMCO

The monthly average for the first six months in 2015 is 3.3m DWT. In 2014 the first half year averaged at 1.33m DWT per month.   April 2015 saw 5.36 million DWT being retired from active service,

Greek Shipping Mulls Cyprus Move

Greek shipping companies are looking into moving to Cyprus due to the instability and uncertainty in Greece, it emerged, reports Cyprus News Agency.   The director

WISTA Seminar on Dry Bulk Receives Wide Response

A Shipping Seminar on "Dry Bulk Chartering, Operations and Arbitration”  held on 27th June 2015 at the Narottam Morarjee Institute of Shipping, Nariman Point, Mumbai was well attended.

Finance

Teekay LNG Partners Declares Distribution

Teekay GP LLC, the general partner of Teekay LNG Partners L.P. has declared a cash distribution of $0.70 per unit for the quarter ended June 30, 2015. The cash distribution is payable on August 14,

Technip Samsung JV Wins 2 FLNG Project Contracts

The Browse project covers the realization and installation of three FLNG units to develop the Brecknock, Calliance and Torosa fields in the Browse Basin, 425 kilometers North of Broome,

Fjords Processing Bags Johan Sverdrup Contracts

Fjords Processing, headquartered in Norway (Fornebu), has won three contracts for the deliveries of process systems for the Johan Sverdrup development in the North Sea.

Maritime Security

New Binding Law of The Sea Agreement Advanced

WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (Singapore, 9-11 November 2015) Will Enable Industry to Organize its Input to this Major New Ocean Treaty Development The U.N.

Saab Bags $1 bln Order for Swedish Submarines

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) has awarded contracts worth Skr8.6bn ($1.03bn) to Saab AB for the construction of two new Type A26 submarines

Latest LCS Completes US Navy Trials

Littoral Combat Ship 6 (LCS 6), the future USS Jackson, has completed U.S. Navy acceptance trials, shipbuilder Austal Limited announced.   The trials, the final milestone before delivery,

Government Update

Antwerp, Duisburg Ports to Upgrade Rly Link

The Port of Antwerp and duisport are intensifying their cooperation as the Port of Antwerp will participate in the existing rail shuttle service connecting the two ports.

Greek Shipping Mulls Cyprus Move

Greek shipping companies are looking into moving to Cyprus due to the instability and uncertainty in Greece, it emerged, reports Cyprus News Agency.   The director

NITC Tankers Chart Western Course

Iran’s largest shipping company NITC, the privatized Iranian shipping company, is in talks for permission to sail in Western waters, says a report in WSJ.   NITC

P&I Clubs

Philippine Ferry Sinks, 36 Dead

A ferry carrying 189 passengers and crew capsized off the central Philippines in heavy waves on Thursday, killing at least 36 people but the majority of those on board were rescued,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
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: 0.2064 sec (5 req/sec)