Friday, July 17, 2015

Ship demurrages: Pakistani oil tanker detained at Dubai

A Pakistani oil tanker is under arrest at a seaport in Dubai, it emerged on Saturday. A UAE court has ordered the arrest of a Pakistani oil tanker on the complaint of a Ukrainian shipping company. MT Lahore was detained at Fujairah Port of Dubai on Friday after a UAE court decreed in favour of M/s Vista Shipping claiming $20400 ship demurrages against Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC).

Chairman PNSC Arif Elahi confirmed the arrest saying the issue was a routine in shipping industry and would be resolved soon. “The vessel would be free by tomorrow (Sunday),” he told Business Recorder. The Ukrainian shippers, Elahi said, was using “pressure tactics” to press for its demurrage claims the amount of which was unknown to the PNSC chief.

Another official at the Corporation said M/s Vista Shipping had been demanding $204000 from the PNSC which in June last year had chartered the former”s oil tanker for the import of furnace oil to Pakistan. “Our estimates put the demurrage claims stand at not more than $186000,” said the official. He said his side had mobilised the P&I Club, an international insurance entity, to settle the dispute. The P&I-backed solution, he said, may required the PNSC to pay to the claimant around $210000, a sum higher than the Pakistani shipping authorities have so far resisting to pay.

MT Lahore was detailed after the company handed the Fujaira port operator what PNSC official said an “arrest warrant” issued by a UAE court. Officials at PNSC said, “Issue was disputable between the Corporation and M/s Vasta Shipping since June last year.” The sources privy to the matter said the Ukrainian firm had also approached the International Maritime Organisation through submitting an application to it. “PNSC would have to pay a Rs 1.7 million penalty till the clearance of demurrage,” they said.

PNSC has long been at loggerheads with Pakistan State Oil, the state-run oil importer, over what PSO claims, belated arrival of PNSC vessels to the required port. The PNSC denies it, as PSO claims to have incurred millions of dollars as demurrages because of PNSC”s belated provision of oil tankers. The PNSC official, when asked as to why the demurrage was caused at first place, said “you always have such claims in shipping business”.
Source: Business Recorder