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Ilyashev & Partners Are the First in Ukraine to Secure the Release of a Vessel Against the British P&I Club’s Undertaking

News date: 27 July 2020

The team of Odesa office of Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm has secured the acceptance by the State Ecological Inspection of Ukraine of the P&I club’s letter of undertaking as a sufficient and only security in respect of the maritime claim.

The precedent in the Ukrainian law enforcement practice was established in the interests of CHALLENGE SHIPPING LTD, the owner of the bulk carrier New Challenge, detained at the Port of Mykolaiv on 17 July 2020 in connection with an incident taking place during cargo operations.

On 12 July 2020, when unloading a 12-ton forklift from New Challenge, due to a breakage of the rope on a ship’s crane hook, the forklift fell on the berth from a height of 4 meters, which resulted in a significant damage of the berth and a pipeline of the neighboring oil terminal. As a result, about 10 tons of sunflower oil spilled on the berth, some of which got into the port water area, which led to the New Challenge captain being held administratively liable for the environmental pollution, as well as to the claim exceeding UAH 5 million. The total amount of claims against the vessel amounted to about UAH 13.5 million.

“Our reasoned legal position helped us to persuade the State Ecological Inspection of Ukraine to accept the P&I club’s letter of undertaking as a security in respect of a maritime claim that fully meets the world’s best maritime practice, — said the Attorney at Law and the Head of Odesa office of Ilyashev & Partners, Sergey Nedelko. — This allowed the vessel to leave the port safely and the shipowner to avoid huge losses”.

Despite the fact that starting from the XIX century the letters of undertaking of P&I clubs are widely used to secure the maritime claims in many jurisdictions, their status is not yet regulated by the Ukrainian law. The maritime lawyers and business representatives have been long talking about the need to introduce the relevant amendments into the Merchant Shipping Code, the Civil Code and the procedural law.