Greece: Legal position of jurisdiction following collapse of OW Bunkers

This information is part of a wider article which offers a broad overview of the legal position across jurisdictions following the collapse of OW Bunkers. View the complete article or alternative jurisdictions.

Leading case

765/2015; 2127/2015; 33/2016; 517/2016; 1558/2016 and 1559/2016

Summary of legal position

The Greek Courts have issued contradicting decisions regarding the liability of the Owners to compensate Greek-based physical suppliers for unpaid bunkers ordered by companies of the OWB Group. In summary, the Greek Courts have adopted the following conflicting positions:

i) Owners are liable to pay to the physical supplier the value of the bunkers ordered by OWB, because such liability is established directly by the law (Art. 106 of the Greek Private Maritime Code).
ii) Owners are not liable to pay the physical supplier, because there is no contractual relationship between these parties (it could not be shown OW acted as an agent for the physical supplier).
iii) Owners are liable to pay the physical supplier, because the chief engineer, when signing the bunker delivery receipt without reservation, guaranteed on Owners’ behalf payment of the physical suppliers’ invoice.
iv) The Greek Courts do not have jurisdiction to hear claims of a physical supplier against Owners having their place of business abroad, notwithstanding the fact that the chief engineer signed the bunker delivery receipt, containing a clause that the Greek Courts would be competent to hear the claims of the physical supplier.

Although no judgment has yet been given by the Piraeus Court of Appeal, we expect them to rule shortly on whether Owners have any liability towards the physical suppliers for these claims.

Contributing authors

Paris Karamitsios, VP law/Richard Johnson Brown, HFW Piraeus