Lukoil’s trading arm has backed off its US lawsuit over a charter scuttled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Litasco filed papers in the US federal court for New Jersey asking the court to dismiss its case against Dutch N2 Tankers without prejudice. The dismissal was approved by US District Judge John Vazquez.
Litasco had originally sued on 11 May, seeking to arrest $2.3m in bunker fuel to be delivered to the 116,000-dwt Nordbay (built 2007) as security for arbitration in London.
N2, a joint venture of Reederei Nord and Nissen Kaiun, had agreed to charter the Nordbay to Litasco to carry oil from Novorossiysk to Romania on 24 February, the same day Russian troops would begin pouring over the Ukrainian border.
Less than a week later, N2 director Ed Averill suggested the charter should be cancelled.
He said there was a Ukrainian seafarer working aboard the Nordbay and its flag state, Portugal, implemented maritime security measures prohibiting cargo operations. He also pointed to European Union sanctions levied against the port facilities, where the ship was scheduled to load, and to suggestions the EU could block port calls for ships sailing from Russia.
Attorneys for Switzerland-based Litasco had argued that the crewing choices were N2’s and that the port issue was not relevant.
Neither side would change its position and on 11 March, Litasco demanded $2.3m before commencing arbitration.
The lawsuit was filed ahead of the Nordbay’s expected arrival at a New Jersey terminal.
The ship arrived on 16 May, with the court issuing writs of attachment and garnishment on 13 May.
The Nordbay has since left US waters and appears en route to Atlantic Canada.