Malaysia: Port of Tg Pelepas files RM31.9mil oil spill damage suit

M. HAFIDZ MAHPAR The Star 20 Jul 17;

KUALA LUMPUR: Port operator Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd (PTP) has filed a suit seeking RM31.86mil plus interest for losses due to an oil spill at PTP’s premises from tanker MV Trident Star in August last year.

MMC Corp Bhd, which owns 70% equity interest in PTP, told Bursa Malaysia that PTP had filed in rem (against a vessel) and personam (against a person) writ on Tuesday against Rising Star Shipping Sdn Bhd - the beneficial owner of the ship - and The Shipowners’ Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (Luxembourg) Singapore branch (the Club).

The Club is a mutual insurance association which offers protection and indemnity insurance to vessels’ owners, operators and charterers worldwide.

PTP, the claimant, operates and maintains Port of Tanjung Pelepas in Johor as well as providing port facilities and other related services.

MMC said at about 7am on Aug 24, 2016, at about 7am, Trident Star was berthing at ATT Tanjung Bin Terminal and, in the course of loading a cargo of 2,500 metric tonnes of marine fuel oil, there was an overflow from one of its tanks onto the upper deck of the vessel which subsequently spilled into the sea.

“The oil spill thereafter spread out into the adjacent waters and towards PTP’s premises causing oil pollution damage. As a result, PTP suffered various and substantial losses,” it said.

Besides RM31.86mil being PTP’s losses from the incident, PTP is seeking interest at a rate of 5% per year from the date of the start of the suit until the full and final payment as well as costs and other reliefs.

Rising Star had earlierm on Feb 17, obtained a declaration from the Kuala Lumpur High Court limiting its liability to a maximum of 4.51 million Special Drawing Rights (equivalent to about RM25mil.

“The filing of in rem and in personam writ herein is to therefore secure the interest and right of PTP towards the fund. Any amount in excess of the fund will be claimed against the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund in London,” MMC said.

According to MMC, the proceedings are not expected to have any material impact on the group’s earnings, net assets or gearing for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2017.

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