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 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Maine Port City Bans Oil Loading

City councilors in South Portland, Maine, voted late Monday night to ban the loading of crude oil onto tankers along its waterfront, throwing up yet another roadblock

Electronic Navigation & Dispute Resolution: Coming of Age

ECDIS, AIS, GPS Electronic navigation systems such as GPS, Electronic Chart Displays (ECDIS) and Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) provide great assistance

Korea Ferry Businessman's Body Located

Yoo had been target of South Korea's largest manhunt; Failure of police to catch Yoo had been burden for Park government. The body of South Korea's most wanted man,

Bulk Carrier Trends

Scorpio Bulkers Gets $540m Loan for Newbuilds

Scorpio Bulkers Inc. announced that it has received a commitment for a $540 million loan facility and provides an update on the financing of its fleet. On July 21,

Ivory Coast Rain Fuels Hopes for Strong Cocoa Main Crop

Rain mixed with sunny spells last week in most of Ivory Coast's main cocoa regions helped the development of plentiful small pods, suggesting a strong start to

DryShips Receives Funds for 9 Drybulk Vessels

DryShips Inc., a global provider of marine transportation services for drybulk and petroleum cargos and offshore contract drilling oil services, announced today

Finance

Pier Damaged at Port Canaveral

Undergoing Repairs While Coast Guard Investigates   The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a weekend incident that caused pier damage and scattered concrete debris in the harbor on Sunday.

APM Terminals to Sell Container Terminal in Virginia

Port operator APM Terminals, a unit of Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk, said it would sell a big U.S. container terminal to infrastructure investor Alinda Capital

Scorpio Bulkers Gets $540m Loan for Newbuilds

Scorpio Bulkers Inc. announced that it has received a commitment for a $540 million loan facility and provides an update on the financing of its fleet. On July 21,

Maritime Security

Second Typhoon Threatens Taiwan

The Taiwan military was collecting and distributing sandbags to guard against possible flooding on Tuesday as a typhoon bore down on the island after brushing the Philippines.

Korea Ferry Businessman's Body Located

Yoo had been target of South Korea's largest manhunt; Failure of police to catch Yoo had been burden for Park government. The body of South Korea's most wanted man,

Unplanned Encounters Discussed at Navy CNO's China Meeting

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert has left the People's Republic of China (PRC) after a successful four-day counterpart visit with military leaders,

Government Update

OSRO: The Child of Necessity

Most people in the maritime industry in the United States are familiar with the concept of the Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO).  It is one of the many quiet

Oil Products Flow to Primorsk Resumed

Russia resumed oil products shipments to Primorsk after a halt following "criminal tapping" of pipeline, a subsidiary of Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft said.

Second Typhoon Threatens Taiwan

The Taiwan military was collecting and distributing sandbags to guard against possible flooding on Tuesday as a typhoon bore down on the island after brushing the Philippines.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
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: 0.1969 sec (5 req/sec)