Shanghai court detains MOL ship in WW2 compensation dispute

Shanghai: Shanghai Maritime Court ordered the detention of a bulker “Baosteel Emotion” owned by Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) at Majishan port in Shengsi, Zhejiang Province to enforce a compensation ruling for the loss of two Chinese cargo ships during the Second World War.

MOL rented two cargo ships “Shun Feng” and “Xin Taiping” from Chung Wei Steamship Company, owned by Chinese shipowner Chen Shuntong in the 1930s and MOL stopped paying rent for the two ships after 1937 when Japan declared war on China and never returned the two ships.

Chen's family has been seeking compensation since the war. The case was reopened in 1988 when Chen's grandsons filed a lawsuite at Shanghai Maritime Court.

The court in 2007 judged the two ships illegally possessed by the Japanese company after its suspension of rent payments in 1937 and ruled Mitsui Group to pay 2.9bn yen compensation. The Supreme People's Court rejected the Mitsui Group's appeal in 2010.

Shanghai Maritime Court sent an enforcement notice to Mitsui in late 2011 but negotiations between the Chens and Mitsui ended with no result, prompting the court to seize Baosteel Emotion on Saturday.

It was the first time China has seized Japanese corporate property for postwar compensation. [21/04/14]

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