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Special master sought to oversee oil spill claims

To determine if claims are being processed appropriately The lead attorneys for people and businesses suing BP over last year's Gulf oil spill want a federal judge to appoint a special master to oversee the claims process.They said in court papers Monday that administrator Kenneth Feinberg has been too slow to process interim payments from the $20 billion fund that BP set up to compensate people who lost their livelihoods when crude oil gushed from BP's blown well. The payments are meant to tide people over until claims are settled.The lawyers said BP and Feinberg's Gulf Coast Claims Facility have benefited from desperate victims who choose quick, one-time payments in exchange for promises not to sue. There was no immediate ruling by the court in New Orleans.Last week, the Justice Department said an independent audit would be done to determine if claims are being processed appropriately.Feinberg said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press that the GCCF has made interim payments to more than 20,000 claimants and that there are more than 40,000 final payment offers outstanding. He said some $250 million in interim payments have been made. Feinberg said the GCCF will respond to the court filing in ...

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Hako Offshore deals with crew wage claims

Claims total $364,000 The International Transport Workers' Federation stated that Singapore-based Hako Offshore has settled crew-wage claims on four vessels totalling $364,000.The company has kept a pledge to clear outstanding payments by 25 June, some of which can be traced back three months.The move follows threats by the ITF to instigate legal proceedings against the 6,000-bhp anchor-handling tug supply (AHTS) vessel Hako Faithful (built 2009) when it arrived in South Africa. John Wood of the ITF mentions that South Africa continues to be seen as a favourable jurisdiction for pursuing claims.Hako acknowledged that wages were owed but described the company as being in a "tight cash environment" and seeking "everyone's assistance on this matter"."We sincerely apologise for this delay, which is unfortunate, and regret the inconvenience it has caused but we are confident that we will resolve these issues on or before 25 June," said the e-mail.Wood confirmed this week that payments had been settled for the period to the end of May for the Hako Faithful, the 4,000-bhp AHTS vessels Swordfish 1 and Swordfish 3 (both built 2010), as well as the tug Hako 60 (built 2009).The three AHTS ships are listed as belonging to Singapore-based Otto Marine, whose ...

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Russian owner facing industrial action

Claims that crews have not been paid A Russian owner is facing industrial action following claims that crews have not been paid.Union officials and commercial creditors are preparing to take action against vessels controlled by Monaco-based Russian commodities exporter and bulker owner Aleksei Fedoricsev.The action is directly related to the mini-bulker fleet of Fedoricsev's former Manati Navigation and follows a change of control of that fleet that critics say was a sham.Muzzafer Civelek,who is Istanbul's ITF representator,confirms that actions are being planned if former Manati seafarers are not paid this week.Civelek mentions that this could take the form of boycotts and blacklisting or ship arrests in the jurisdiction where the former Manati ships trade.Nearly 44 seafarers are said to be owed over $140,000 in unpaid wages after being discharged in connection with a series of transactions that culminated in April.In one case, a chief engineer, Oleg Hairulin, who demanded some $52,515 in back pay on 30 March in connection with one ship handover, was allegedly dismissed on the spot and ordered confined on board his former ship, the 5,100-dwt Aleksandr Lebed (built 1985).Instead of being repatriated in the ordinary manner, Hairulin was allegedly treated to an involuntary passage from Istanbul ...

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