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

Legal

Cautious Optimism on Pacific NorthWest LNG Report

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA)  has ruled that Pacific NorthWest LNG’s project in British Columbia would likely harm harbour porpoises and contribute to climate change,

UPS Oposes CP-NS Merger

UPS, one of North America’s largest intermodal shippers, has told federal regulators that it is against Canadian Pacific Railway's (CP's) proposed acquisition of Norfolk Southern Corp.

SunEdison Restrained from 'Unusual' Asset Transfers

Solar company SunEdison Inc said a U.S. court has restrained the company from making any unusual asset transfers until a hearing in a lawsuit brought on by investors

Bulk Carrier Trends

Indiana Ports Sets Cargo Record in 2015

State's three ports handle 12 million tons for first time in 54-year history  INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 11, 2016) - The Ports of Indiana handled over 12.2 million tons of cargo in 2015,

Nordana Sea Delivered to Symphony Shipping

After successful sea trials, M.V. Nordana Sea was delivered to Symphony Shipping on February 11, 2016. Constructed by builder Ferus-Smit in the Netherlands (yard number 419),

Baltic Index Rises for First Time in 2016

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose for the first time this year on Friday, helped by higher rates for panamax vessels.

Finance

Brazil's CEEE to sell stakes in Wind Farms, Dams

Brazil's Companhia Estadual de Energia Elétrica (CEEE), a power utility controlled by the state of Rio Grande do Sul, will sell assets including stakes in wind farms,

DP World Bolsters Investment in India

DP World Pvt. Ltd, the world’s fourth biggest container port operator majority owned by the Dubai government, has plans to invest over $1 billion in India for augmenting its port-related operations.

SunEdison Restrained from 'Unusual' Asset Transfers

Solar company SunEdison Inc said a U.S. court has restrained the company from making any unusual asset transfers until a hearing in a lawsuit brought on by investors

Maritime Security

Libyan Navy Seizes Foreign Tanker

Libyan naval forces have seized a Sierra Leone-flagged oil tanker on suspicion of illegally entering Libyan waters in an attempt to smuggle gasoline, authorities said on Saturday.

DARPA All Set To Launch Submarine Hunting Drone

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will launch in April a sleek, 132-foot warship from Portland, OR, testing its abilities over a succeeding period of 18 months.

All-Women Crew Indian Navy Ship Enters Chennai Port

The Indian Navy said on Saturday that its sailing vessel Mhadei, having an all-women crew of naval officers, has entered the Chennai Port.    The vessel which had left Visakhapatnam on February 9,

Government Update

Libyan Navy Seizes Foreign Tanker

Libyan naval forces have seized a Sierra Leone-flagged oil tanker on suspicion of illegally entering Libyan waters in an attempt to smuggle gasoline, authorities said on Saturday.

DP World Bolsters Investment in India

DP World Pvt. Ltd, the world’s fourth biggest container port operator majority owned by the Dubai government, has plans to invest over $1 billion in India for augmenting its port-related operations.

Philippines Mulls Bilateral Sea Talks with China

The Philippines may consider two-way talks with China to resolve a territorial dispute in the South China Sea but only if it wins its case with Beijing at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Simulators 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: 0.1020 sec (10 req/sec)