June 23, 2005

By Tom Burkindine
The Kaselehlie Press

The PM&O shipping vessel which was detained in Majuro last week had made its way to Pohnpei on Sunday and was scheduled to leave on Monday. Although no further specifics concerning the suit filed against PM&O was immediately available, Pohnpei PM&O agent SeaAir Transportation Agency said Monday the situation in Majuro had been taken care of.

Last Tuesday, PM&O's Micronesian Navigator container vessel was impounded after arriving in Majuro and Majuro court officials also planned to detain the Micronesian Nations vessel when it arrived the next day.

The boats were detained due to a court order that stemmed from a Majuro Stevedore and Terminal Company lawsuit which was filed in the Majuro High Court. The suit sought payment from PM&O of more than $340,000 in cargo, dock, and handling fees which the company said had not been paid since November, 2003, according to a Marshall Islands Journal report.

The story said the suit was filed against the two ships, their owners Erica Navigation Co. SA and Karakoram Maritima SA, management company Toyo Sangyo Co., and PM&O, which charters the ships.

The arrest warrant was issued by the Majuro high court, ordering the ships to be held pending the outcome of the case. Originally, the Micro Navigator was to depart last Thursday for Ebeye before docking in the FSM.

According to the Journal report, PM&O President Robert T. Colson said the company had prepared a counter claim for damages due to the ships' inactivity.

"The cost of shipping today is accelerating dramatically with the price of fuel, cost of terminal services, and increased charter hire for the vessel," Colson said. "We really don't need to stop our ships nor have our containers held hostage at a time like this and under these circumstances."

Although officials in Majuro would not comment on the resolution of the suit, the ship reached Kosrae and proceeded to Pohnpei, arriving on Sunday and departing Monday morning.