Operator of Mathu Bhum says palm oil on its vessel booked prior to export ban

The containers carrying palm oil on the ship Mathu Bhum (IMO 8813647) were booked prior to Indonesia suspending palm oil exports in April (IMN May 10th, May 13th), its operator RCL has said.

There was no container from RCL in the list of 34 20ft containers. However, they were all customs approved for export on 25th and 26th April, prior to the prohibition date of 28th April.” The operator said it was working with the authorities to get the vessel released as quickly as possible.

The Mathu Bhum was seized by the Indonesian navy on May 4th after 34 20ft containers were found to contain palm oil. As of May 16th, the ship remained detained off Belawan port.

The vessel was carrying 402 other containers that need to be transhipped in Malaysia and Singapore to elsewhere in Asia, Europe and the US. The ship is deployed on RCL’s RTB2 service, calling at Bangkok, Singapore, Port Klang, Belawan and Port Klang.

The owner had previously protested that it did not know what was in the containers, because Regional Container Lines (RCL) was a transporter, not a freight forwarder. The company and its lawyers filed a protest and appeal, demanding the ship’s release.

The vessel was detained for violating Indonesia’s short-term ban on the export of refined, bleached and deodorized (RBD) palm oil.

1990-built, Singapore-flagged, 11,079 gt Mathu Bhum is owned by Regional Container Lines Pte care of manager RCL Shipmanagement Pte Ltd of Singapore. It is entered with Swedish Club (Asia Team) on behalf of Regional Container Lines Pte Ltd.