Detained liner departs after fuel bill rift resolved

Fri, Aug 31, 2012, 01:00

A CRUISE ship at the centre of a dispute over an unpaid fuel bill set sail from Dublin port last night after the High Court set aside orders it had earlier granted detaining the vessel.

Yesterday afternoon the High Court ordered the arrest and detention of the MV Princess Danae which arrived in Dublin yesterday morning.

The liner, which has the capacity to carry more than 800 passengers and crew, was detained arising out of an alleged failure by its owners to pay an outstanding fuel bill of $94,000 (€74,940).

All but three bunks aboard the ship were occupied at the time the vessel was detained.

The ship, registered in Madeira and flies the Portuguese flag, was due to depart at 7pm yesterday evening.

Yesterday at the High Court Mr Justice Roderick Murphy issued a warrant under a 1952 International Maritime Convention allowing for the arrest and detention of the Portuguese-registered ship.

The application was made ex-parte, where only one side was represented in court.

The arrest and detention order was sought by Italian-registered firm Omega Bunker SRL, who entered into an agreement with the ship’s owners, Waybell Cruises, with a registered address in Panama City, to supply the vessel with fuel in Manila, the Philippines, last April.

The owners were then invoiced for $409,000. Ciaran Lewis for Omega told the court this deal was not honoured by the ship’s owners.

Earlier this year counsel said his client had the ship detained in the port of Piraeus in Greece over its alleged failure to pay the bill.

The ship was released in early June after the ship’s owners agreed to make a number of payments in June of July of this year in order to settle the bill. Several payments were made.

However, despite that agreement, the ship’s owners had refused to pay an outstanding amount of $94,000 which Omega claimed it was due.

Following yesterday’s High Court hearing the Admiralty Marshal issued a warrant and legal representatives from the Arthur Cox law firm boarded the ship.

The cruise ship was subsequently permitted to sail from Dublin Port after the High Court was informed that the parties had come to an agreement over the disputed fuel bill.

“Both sides are happy and the matter has been resolved,” Bryan Strahan, a partner with Arthur Cox, which took instructions from Omega Bunker, said last night.