World Fuel Services files email document in case against MV Triton

Email says sales are on credit of the vessel; buyer is presumed to have authority to bind vessel with a maritime lien.

Exhibit A: Email document shows correspondence between senior WFS employee Jack Varela and the operations department of charterer Windrose SPS Shipping and Trading SA. Image credit: Pixabay CC0

Updated on 25 May 2018 09:54 GMT

World Fuel Services (WFS) has filed a new document with a court in Oregon, US, as part of its ongoing case against the bulk carrier MV Triton for the alleged non-payment of bunker fuel for a delivery performed in Singapore on March 20, 2017, by the now-defunct supplier Universal Energy Pte. Ltd., with WFS acting as subcontractor, or back-to-back trader.

The document, seen by Bunker Index, is an email between senior WFS employee Jack Varela and the operations department of charterer Windrose SPS Shipping and Trading SA (specifically to the attention of Nathalie Nghia) in which the seller, WFS, confirms the order placed by the buyer "MV Triton and her owners/operators and Windrose SPS Shipping and Trading SA" for the delivery of 750 metric tonnes of 380 centistoke (cSt) fuel to the MV Triton at the price of $290 per tonne. The payment terms are 30 days from the data of delivery.

The email, dated March 15, 2017, goes on to specify that "All sales are on the credit of the vessel. Buyer is presumed to have authority to bind the vessel with a maritime lien. Disclaimer stamps placed by the vessel on the bunker receipt will have no effect and do not waive the Seller's lien. This confirmation is governed by and incorporates by reference the Seller's general terms and conditions for marine fuel products and related services, including the law and jurisdiction clause therein, in effect as of the date that this confirmation issued."

The email document - Exhibit A in the case - was submitted on May 22 to the US court by plaintiff WFS to support its claim that it entered into a contract with the charterer of the Triton - Swiss firm Windrose - to supply the vessel with the aforementioned quantity of fuel at the agreed price; that the sale was on the credit of the bulk carrier Triton; and that the buyer had authority to bind the vessel with a maritime lien.

Amount claimed

As previously reported, WFS initially sent an invoice to Windrose on March 27, 2017, for $216,358.27, with the amount to be paid within 30 days of the date of delivery, by April 19, 2017.

On or around April 11, 2018, WFS says it sent notice of the outstanding balance due to three parties: Husky Trading, understood to be the registered owner; Diana Shipping Inc, said to be the beneficial owner of the ship; and Diana Shipping Services S.A., the commercial operator of the vessel.

In its legal claim, WFS has demanded $279,679.12 as of April 18, which is the total outstanding balance for the fuel, including interest and administrative fees, with interest continuing to accrue at the rate of 2 percent per month until the amount owing is paid in full.

Legal representatives of Husky Trading S.A. and Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America were subsequently ordered to pay a $350,000 bond in lieu of arrest.

Claim disputed

Last week, on May 15, defendant MV Triton countered that the plaintiff's alleged damages "were caused in whole or in part by the actions or omissions of third parties over whom Defendant M/V Triton had no control or right of control".

The defendant also argued that it is not responsible for any of Windrose's contractual obligations, and that the plaintiff's damages are not recoverable in an in rem action arising from a maritime lien for the supply of necessaries to a vessel.

The case continues.