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

Legal

US Shippers, West Coast Dockworkers Union Resume Contract Talks

Negotiators for shipping lines and terminal operators at 29 U.S. West Coast ports resumed contract talks with the union for dockworkers on Thursday, as cargo backups continued at the ports,

Report: Dire Conditions in Indian Shipbreaking Yards

Report by Indian research institute reveals poor enforcement of occupational health and safety provisions   The working and living conditions at the shipbreaking yards of Alang,

Italian Shipbuilder Pleads Guilty to Environmental Crimes

An Italian shipping firm based in Genoa, Italy, pleaded guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by falsifying required ships’ documents to hide

Bulk Carrier Trends

Great Lakes Coal Trade Slows in November

Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 2.6 million tons in November, a decrease of 3 percent from a year ago, as shipments were affected by weather-related delays,

Bulker Chief Engineer Convicted of Environmental Crimes

A chief engineer from the M/V Trident Navigator was convicted by a federal jury in New Orleans late yesterday after a week-long trial, of knowingly falsifying the

Wrecked Bulker’s Bow Refloated, Scuttled off S.Africa

TITAN Salvage, Crowley Maritime Corp.'s Houston-based marine salvage, emergency response and wreck removal company, has refloated and scuttled the largest section of the wrecked bulk carrier, Smart.

Finance

Cecon Secures Finances to Complete Newbuild

Cecon ASA has petitioned for a debt restructuring agreement (in Norwegian: gjeldsforhandling). Certain funds managed by York Capital Management Global Advisors,

Libyan State Oil Firm NOC Will Remain Independent

Libya's Tripoli-based state firm National Oil Corp (NOC) will remain independent, it said on Thursday, in an apparent attempt to reassure foreign oil buyers it will stay out of the country's conflict.

Oil Prices Retreat from Short-covering Rebound

Global crude prices fell more than $1 a barrel on Thursday, retreating from a short-covering charged rally as traders bet the market had not shaken off a six-month long rout on oversupply concerns.

Maritime Security

NASSCO Opens Bremerton Repair Facility

General Dynamics NASSCO celebrated the grand opening of its new location in Bremerton, Wash., yesterday. The facility will support the company’s recently-awarded contract to repair and maintain U.

USCG Commandant to Address PVA Convention

Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Paul F. Zukunft will attend the PVA Annual Convention at MariTrends 2015 in Long Beach, Calif. and deliver a keynote

Philippines to Buy Naval Assets, China Sea Dispute Simmers

The Philippines aims to buy two frigates, two helicopters and three gunboats for deployment in the South China Sea where a territorial dispute with China has lent

Government Update

Jaenichen Tours Port of Brownsville

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen today visited the future site of a marine cargo dock at the Port of Brownsville made possible,

Abigail Ross Hopper Named BOEM Director

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today named Abigail Ross Hopper as the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which manages the development

USCG Says Unaffected by Cuba Policy Changes

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) issued a statement today stating that the United States’ Cuba policy change will not impact its missions annd operations. “Coast Guard

Insurance

US Obamacare Impacts the Global Marine Industry

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, the recent healthcare plan in the United States, is affecting the international superyacht industry,

Even 'Small' Vessels are Getting Bigger

The Shipowners’ Club is a mutual provider of P&I insurance that has throughout its 160 year history been dedicated to serving owners of small and specialist ships.

Danish Investors Investigating OW Bunker Collapse

A group of the largest Danish institutional investors has initiated an investigation of the collapse of ship fuel supplier OW Bunker, they said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

P&I Clubs

Even 'Small' Vessels are Getting Bigger

The Shipowners’ Club is a mutual provider of P&I insurance that has throughout its 160 year history been dedicated to serving owners of small and specialist ships.

Danish Investors Investigating OW Bunker Collapse

A group of the largest Danish institutional investors has initiated an investigation of the collapse of ship fuel supplier OW Bunker, they said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

Mares Joins Guardian as Europe, U.S. Agent

Going from strength to strength, Guardian Maritime Ltd, producers of GUARDIAN anti-piracy barriers, has further expanded its worldwide coverage and distribution

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Sonar
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: 0.1835 sec (5 req/sec)