The Malta Independent 17 August 2022, Wednesday

Turkish vessel slapped with warrant of arrest over unpaid fuel bills escapes Maltese authorities

Neil Camilleri Monday, 27 July 2015, 13:36 Last update: about 8 years ago

The Turkish-flagged Feyza Genc tanker has escaped from Maltese waters despite being slapped with a warrant of arrest over thousands in unpaid fuel costs. The vessel is currently steaming east of Crete.

The First Hall of the Civil Court issued a warrant of arrest on Friday after Cassar Fuel Ltd reported that it is owed €45,817.80 in fuel costs. Transport Malta was informed about the arrest warrant.

The 90 metre vessel was at the time anchored off Malta’s east coast, in what is known as Bunkering Area 3 but the crew hoisted the anchors and the vessel set sail for Turkey sometime in the past few hours.

In May 2014 a 60,000-tonne ship, the MT Atlantik, which had also been impounded, slipped out of Maltese waters unchallenged during Malta’s EU membership anniversary celebrations. No patrol boats had been available to stop it at the time because all vessels were busy patrolling the Grand Harbour.

The MT Atlantik was issued an arrest warrant following a request by a Liberian-registered company, which claimed it was owed €900,000 by the owners of the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel. A subsequent inquiry, completed many months later but never published, had found no fault with the authorities’ handling of the embarrassing incident, arguing that they were asked to intervene late in the day.

Then, in August of the same year, another cargo vessel, the Madra, had also managed to evade two arrest warrants issued by the court. The 100-metre cargo ship had also been slapped with arrest warrants after failing to pay fuel bills owed to Cassar Fuels and Italian firm Shipoll, which together claim to be owed some €220,000. The captain of the Madra had reportedly switched off the vessel’s tracking system and made off before the vessel could be intercepted by the AFM. No inquiry was held this time round. 

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