Dispute about ‘stolen’ Cambodian oil could take years, lawyers say

The ship in question, the MT Strovolos which ships under the flag of the Bahamas, is currently anchored in the Singapore Strait off Batam island

The legal dispute about who is the rightful owner of the Cambodian oil that has been “stolen” by an oil tanker after Singaporean oil exploration firm KrisEnergy – which pumped up the crude on behalf of the Cambodian government off the country’s coast – went bankrupt and could not pay the vessel charter fees would likely take years, experts say.

The ship was seized and the crew detained by the Indonesian navy after Cambodia’s government had filed a theft complaint with Interpol as they sailed away with nearly 300,000 barrels of oil.

With the fully-laden vessel now impounded off Indonesia’s island of Batam adjacent of Singapore, and KrisEnergy’s liquidation proceedings still under way, lawyers who have been tracking developments predict a lengthy dispute over who owns and can sell the oil which is valued at over $20 million as per current market prices.

Competing claimants expected

“I expect that if the Cambodian government wants to detain the cargo and have it shipped back to Cambodia, there may arise competing claimants who are saying they are lawful owners of the cargo, potentially including the liquidator of KrisEnergy,” Peter Doraisamy, managing partner at Singapore law firm PDLegal, told Reuters.

“It is likely to take several years at the very minimum depending on which jurisdiction is seized of the case, and there is possibility that cases may be brought in more than one jurisdiction and by different parties,” he added.

Tanker owner denies any intentions to steal the cargo

Meanwhile, the tanker’s owner, Singapore-based World Tankers Management, has denied allegations linking its tanker with the removal of oil from Cambodia.

“The vessel has been wrongly charged with stealing the cargo. It is not and has never at any time been our intention to misappropriate the cargo,” the company said in a statement on August 26.

“It is our express requirement that [the oil] is offloaded from the vessel by the party that owns it on terms that we are paid the sums owed to us,” it added.

The company further said will not only be seeking legal support, but also aid through diplomatic channels and from the UN Human Rights Office for its crew which was “entirely innocent and blameless in this matter and should not come to bear the brunt of commercial and political issues.”

Current position of the ship:



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[caption id="attachment_37536" align="alignleft" width="300"] The ship in question, the MT Strovolos which ships under the flag of the Bahamas, is currently anchored in the Singapore Strait off Batam island[/caption] The legal dispute about who is the rightful owner of the Cambodian oil that has been “stolen” by an oil tanker after Singaporean oil exploration firm KrisEnergy – which pumped up the crude on behalf of the Cambodian government off the country’s coast – went bankrupt and could not pay the vessel charter fees would likely take years, experts say. The ship was seized and the crew detained by the Indonesian...

The ship in question, the MT Strovolos which ships under the flag of the Bahamas, is currently anchored in the Singapore Strait off Batam island

The legal dispute about who is the rightful owner of the Cambodian oil that has been “stolen” by an oil tanker after Singaporean oil exploration firm KrisEnergy – which pumped up the crude on behalf of the Cambodian government off the country’s coast – went bankrupt and could not pay the vessel charter fees would likely take years, experts say.

The ship was seized and the crew detained by the Indonesian navy after Cambodia’s government had filed a theft complaint with Interpol as they sailed away with nearly 300,000 barrels of oil.

With the fully-laden vessel now impounded off Indonesia’s island of Batam adjacent of Singapore, and KrisEnergy’s liquidation proceedings still under way, lawyers who have been tracking developments predict a lengthy dispute over who owns and can sell the oil which is valued at over $20 million as per current market prices.

Competing claimants expected

“I expect that if the Cambodian government wants to detain the cargo and have it shipped back to Cambodia, there may arise competing claimants who are saying they are lawful owners of the cargo, potentially including the liquidator of KrisEnergy,” Peter Doraisamy, managing partner at Singapore law firm PDLegal, told Reuters.

“It is likely to take several years at the very minimum depending on which jurisdiction is seized of the case, and there is possibility that cases may be brought in more than one jurisdiction and by different parties,” he added.

Tanker owner denies any intentions to steal the cargo

Meanwhile, the tanker’s owner, Singapore-based World Tankers Management, has denied allegations linking its tanker with the removal of oil from Cambodia.

“The vessel has been wrongly charged with stealing the cargo. It is not and has never at any time been our intention to misappropriate the cargo,” the company said in a statement on August 26.

“It is our express requirement that [the oil] is offloaded from the vessel by the party that owns it on terms that we are paid the sums owed to us,” it added.

The company further said will not only be seeking legal support, but also aid through diplomatic channels and from the UN Human Rights Office for its crew which was “entirely innocent and blameless in this matter and should not come to bear the brunt of commercial and political issues.”

Current position of the ship:



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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