A bunker fuel supplier has insisted that a ship accused of fleeing Malta without paying a bill has a case to answer.
Turkish-registered general cargo ship Feyza Genc allegedly left Malta while under arrest by the coastguard over a EUR45,000 (USD49,715) unpaid bill due to Cassar Fuel Ltd Malta. The payment relates to fuel supplied in June 2014.
Earlier this week the ship’s owner GNC Maritime told IHS Maritime that it had paid the bill twice over, and insisted it had tried to contact the bunkerer without success. “Despite all our efforts to prove our innocence, Cassar Fuel Ltd refused to listen to us and forced the owners to pay the bill again to release the vessel.”
But Cassar CEO Darren Marmara said the company had never received any payments. “We have made various attempts requesting to get paid, but these to date always resulted futile. Since the debt remained outstanding for almost a year we had no other option but to take legal action against the vessel,” he told IHS Maritime yesterday (30 July).
A court order was obtained to arrest the vessel, but he claims Feyza Genc left Malta regardless.
“Should GNC Shipping have wished to challenge the warrant of arrest, they should have found other legal remedies, but definitely not by sailing away from Malta,” Marmara added.
He stated that the vessel received orders from Malta Transport Authority via Radio of its obligations to remain in territorial waters and was also told to move to a safer area. “All directives were ignored and vessel actually decided to sail in contempt of Court Decree and in breach of its Navigational Obligations.”
The shipowners should attempt to settle the issue out of court and lessen the harm done, Marmara insisted. “Effecting payment and close the claim would definitely mitigate the breach.”