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Shipping firm queries second vessel in dispute

 Business lady Ann Njeri Njoroge and her lawyer Cliff Ombeta at the Mombasa Court in Mombasa County on November 14, 2023. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

A shipping agency claim before the Mombasa High Court shows the possibility of a second ship in the dispute between Ann Njeri and Galana Energies Limited.

Sturrock Shipping Kenya Limited, in its reply before the court, says that a stamp on the cargo manifest, which is part of Njeri’s court documents, indicates the name of another vessel - Rowan.

“On the cargo manifest, there is a stamp of a vessel by the name Rowan of IMO 9206035. This is different from the vessel that we were dealing with which is MT Haigui,” says Susan Mwende Omondi, a senior operator at Sturrock.

She also disputed Njeri’s Ullage report and the point of loading which is indicated to be Jeddah, Saudi Arabia while the point of origin is Azerbaijan.

According to her, Njeri’s Ullage sheet after loading is captured as 40.30 meters. However, she states that the maximum draft allowed for tankers is 14.0 meters and KOT II is 13.25 meters for KOT I. “This indicates that the vessel that is being dealt with is different from MT Haigui whose arrival draft in Mombasa was 13.15 meters,” she said.

Further, Mwende said that Sturrock is an agent for both Galana and Aramco Trading Fajuriah (Aramco).

The company was nominated by Galana on September 21 to handle the vessel, but she wrote an email to the vessel’s captain on September 19 seeking information to prepare for their arrival.

From the reply that she got, the vessel which had 93,460 MT of GASOIL on board had the last port of call as Jeddah on September 30 and the port of loading was Yanbu, Saudi Arabia on September 25-28 and was estimated to arrive in Mombasa on October 10.

After its arrival, Galana issued instructions for its discharge and the oil was discharged at the Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT) on November 4, it finished all the necessary processes before it left Mombasa for India on November 12. She noted that Njeri had not produced evidence of communication between herself and the relevant authorities for cargo discharge.

According to Njeri, she has been in the import and export business through her company Ann’s Import and Export Enterprises Limited dealing with handicrafts, curios, petroleum products and general merchandise.

The company has offices in Kenya and Dubai and the two offices were opened in 2009. She told DCI that she has an account with a petroleum company LLC ALPHA-AAA YTBE)(AEHO MOSCO-RUSSIA.

Njeri has been in the petroleum industry and has been dealing with Kenyan Oil importers for the last 4-5 years until recently when she decided to venture into the Kenyan market.

After her claims, Galana CEO Antony Munyasya wrote to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) Director General Daniel Kiptoo and the Kenya Ports Authority (KRA) seeking confirmation whether her company was a licensed Oil Marketing Company (OMC), and if she signed a Transport Storage Agreement (TSA) with the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC).

He also wanted to know if the importation of oil is highly regulated and the authorised companies to ship fuel into the country. Munyasya also wanted to know the nominated OMCs.

In a reply, Kiptoo said that Njeri’s company has never been licensed to import petroleum products into Kenya.

Njeri however in her affidavit said that she never knew about the requirements one needed to meet to be allowed to import petroleum products into Kenya.

According to her, while in Dubai, she had the oil shipped while she flew into the country to apply for the license.

The application was done online by her assistant but was denied by EPRA since she did not meet the requirements. Kiptoo added that getting the import license is a precursor to the signing of the TSA, meaning her company couldn’t sign a TSA with KPC without the import license.

He added that the importation of fuel would only happen under the Open Tendering System (OTS) or through the Government-to-Government deal signed by President William Ruto, which is coordinated by the Energy Ministry.

“The company cannot therefore import petroleum into the country on their own without the knowledge and approval of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum,” said Kiptoo.

SGS, a company that does the testing of products, disputed the authenticity of the report of the cargo presented by Njeri, showing that it had been tested in Azerbaijan.

“The alleged reports from Azerbaijan are fake,” said SGS.

KRA in an affidavit sworn by Anthony Wafula Wekesa who works on the manifest section shows that the ship belongs to Galana. According to Wekesa, the manifest produced by Sturrock on behalf of Galana was the same as the one KRA has in its systems.

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