Shipowner Defaults, Your Ship Gets Arrested in Port, Now What?

VLCC samho dream
M/T Samho Dream

The shipping industry has certainly seen better days, which for some shipowners, has put them in a financial bind.  A recent example is the VLCC Samho Dream which was recently sold at auction after the owner defaulted on it’s bank loans.

So what happens with the crew in that situation?

In Thome Ship Management’s December newsletter, they talked with two of their captains on that very subject, here’s what Captain Jeevan N Thombre of MT HERO 1, and Captain Lakshman Kumar of MT Leander had to say:

Both vessels, being part of the same fleet, were arrested on 12 August 2011.

1. What happened when the vessels were arrested?

Captain Jeevan N Thombre (JNT): Once arrested, a security guard was placed onboard our vessel. He was joined by a Solicitor and an officer from the Sheriff’s office. In accordance with the High Court of the Republic of Singapore, a warrant was issued against the vessel and a copy of the warrant was given to me and a copy was displayed on the bridge.

2. What does it mean when the ship gets arrested?

JNT: It simply means the ship is not allowed to move from its present position. A security guard is kept onboard to make sure the vessel does not leave the port and no one is allowed to visit the vessel without prior approval from the sheriff’s office.  However, there were no restrictions for the crew. Shore leave / Sign-on sign-off can be carried out after getting approval from the sheriff’s office.

Captain Lakshma Kumar (LK): It also means that the Owner, Master and Managers all have no authority to make any decision over the ship, crew and even the supplies of provisions.  Fortunately our own Owners/Managers have taken the initiative to request for provisions, bunkers and urgent stores at a fortnight interval applying through the Sheriff’s Office for approval.

3. What did you do onboard while the ship was arrested? How did you pass your time?

JNT: Although the ship was arrested, we were still carrying out our routine jobs and trying to keep the vessel ready for trading at any time when required.

LK: For me, other than carrying out my usual duties, most of the time I was trying to find ways to boost the morale of my crew. I assured them that no one is going to lose any money working with Thome. I have been working with the company for a long time and I have never experienced any irregularities in the settlement of monthly wage or final BOW. For this tenure though, they might expect some delays in getting their MPO/Allotments.

4. How was Thome supporting you as the Captain when the ship was under arrest?

JNT: Thome supported me as the Captain to sort out all the requirements for the safety of the ship and the crew.

LK: Thome has been supporting me as and when I require their assistance that is why I am with them for the last 10-11 years and proud to be part of them.  However in this kind of situation, I know their hands are tied as everything requires the approval of the sheriff or the solicitor.

5. What advice would you give to other captains in the event their ship was under arrest?

JNT: Keep up the morale of the crew

LK: I agree. Let your crew understand that you are in the same predicament as the Master is part of the crew as well and help your crew meet their basic needs (i.e. wages owed, food and fresh water and bunker).

thome shipmanagementHeadquartered in Singapore, Thome Shipmanagement is a niche provider of personalized, high quality, and specialized shipmanagement services.  Thome manages vessels and and provides officers and ratings under the flags of Singapore, Bahamas, Panama, Liberia, UK, Marshall Islands, and Indonesia, as well as the NIS and DIS registeries.