Owners Scramble to Escape Liability

Shipping firms have paid millions of dollars into U.S. accounts to prevent their vessels from being detained due to non-payment of bills for fuel supplied by the bankrupt OW Bunker, indicating the impact from the collapse of the Danish firm was spreading. OW Bunker filed for bankruptcy in November after losing almost $300 million in alleged fraudulent trading in Singapore, leading to claims by distributors who sold shipping fuel on behalf of OW Bunker but had not been paid. Some 13 cases involving bunker bills totaling about $12 million have been filed at New York’s southern district court, a maritime lawyer said. An arrest and any resulting delay could open the door for legal action by the vessel’s charterer.