Singapore’s First Ship Lease Trust (FSL Trust) is working to free a tanker held in India over a cargo row.

And chief executive Roger Woods is refusing to let the company become liable for any losses.

The 20,000-dwt FSL London (built 2006) has been detained by customs authorities in Kandla and is “weighing on” the shipowner’s financial performance due to a lack of earnings since November.

The problem is with the specification of part of the cargo on board, but the company has not revealed any more details.

Speaking on a conference call, Woods said: “We are not the cargo owner and not to be held accountable.

“We are in close contact with the authorities involved so that the vessel can leave again soon,” he added.

Woods also said the investigation is ongoing, but there are no legal proceedings against the ship or FSL Trust.

The shipowner has itself begun legal action against the unnamed charterer, for damages caused by delays.

The cargo in question was destined for India, but no other details have been released.

FSL Trust managed net profit of $172,000 in the first quarter, despite the financial impact of the Indian situation.

This is down from $336,000 in the same period of 2021.

Sale fell through

The Singapore-listed owner had agreed to sell the tanker last September for a reported $10.2m, but this deal fell through when the vessel was held.

Woods believes geopolitical risks will continue to be high and is cautious on the prospects for the overall global economy.

He told the call that uncertainties continue over new Chinese lockdowns, disruptions in supply chains and demand for commodities.

However, tonnage supply fundamentals continue to be “rather positive”, while newbuilding orders remain muted, the CEO added.