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OW Bunkers ruling raises more questions than answers

 The Court of Appeal’s judgment in relation to the dispute between the owners of the RES COGITANS and OW/ING was handed down on 22nd October, 2015. In this case the Court effectively held that although the contract as between the owner and OW had all the hallmarks of a sale contract, the Sale of Goods Act did not apply.The Court considered that: “It is a contract under which goods are to be delivered to the owners as bailees with a licence to consume them for the propulsion of the vessel, coupled with an agreement to sell any quantity remaining at the date of payment, in return for a money consideration which in commercial terms can properly be described as the price.”Responding to the judgment, Kieron Moore, Senior Director of Claims for the UK Defence Club, says:“Under this reasoning, as the bunkers had been consumed, the Member was obliged to pay for the bunkers as licensee, notwithstanding a retention of title clause in the underlying contract.“As a consequence, an owner may be obliged to pay twice for the same bunkers.“What the judgment fails to positively address is what occurs if some of the bunkers remain unconsumed: does the Sale of Goods Act apply ...

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The American Club investigates OW Bankruptcy impact

 The American P&I Club investigates the impact that OW Bunker collapse has on shipowners and provide information and guidance concerning bunker supply transactions, complications consequent upon the OW bankruptcy, maritime liens, latest legal developments, recommended actions upon receipt of claims by unpaid bunker suppliers, and loss prevention guidance as to these exposures associated with the supply of bunkers to ships.On November 7, 2014, OW Bunker A/S (OW), the parent company of a global network of traders and physical suppliers of bunkers, filed for bankruptcy protection in Denmark upon the discovery of a massive fraud and unsupervised trading which resulted in losses of about US$275 million.Nearly all of the subsidiaries of OW also filed for bankruptcy protection in their respective countries of incorporation throughout the world. Shortly thereafter, a co-operation agreement was concluded between the OW Bunker Group and ING Bank NV (ING) as the assignee of a number of debts due to OW. These bankruptcy filings created a ripple effect throughout jurisdictions worldwide causing a rash of disputes involving bunker suppliers, ING, together with vessel owners and charterers alike.In view of the problems facing Members as to whom to pay, and the concomitant threat of ship arrests, the American Club presents ...

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SSA Joins MPA in Confirming No Disruption to Bunker Supply in Singapore

At an industry dialogue with close to 50 companies from the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), it was established that there had been no report of disruption to bunker supply and bunkering operations in Singapore.  Co-organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and SSA yesterday, the participants gathered for updates and discussed ways to minimise any impact on the local bunkering scene following the recent announcements made by OW Bunker A/S.  The attendees were advised to carefully inspect their contractual obligations, and to work closely with their stakeholders to avoid or minimise disruption in their operations.  “The bunkering industry here is a well-regulated one. While I urge my members to seek professional and legal advice as necessary, I also hope that those affected by this event would remain calm and not resort to knee-jerk reactions which may rock the stability and reputation of Singapore’s bunkering industry. My Association will be working closely with MPA to ensure that there would not be any unnecessary disruption in bunker supply and operations here,” said SSA President Mr Patrick Phoon. “This has been a useful session for the shipping and bunkering community to come together to understand the current situation and to ...

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