Published On: Mon, Dec 16th, 2013

Curacao Dry Dock paralyzed – Country seriously at risk of being held liable

Curacao Ports AuthorityWILLEMSTAD - The negotiations between the management of Curacao Dry Dock Company (CDM) and the local lawyer who represents the interests of the three Cubans, who were assigned an amount of 80 million dollars in 2008 in the United States, are still ongoing. The amount, including statutory interest, has gone up to 120 million dollars.

“The pressure on the CDM is tremendous and the dock is now paralyzed,” according to Mr. Arend Winter, who is the legal councilor for the Cubans.

The lawyers have seized payments of CDM’s customers three times, worth about 2 million dollars. Since the American verdict in 2008 is not feasible in Curacao, garnishment is placed on payments, for supplied services, from countries where CDM customers (ships / shipping companies) are located and where this is practicable.

"Because, as a customer they do not want to be involved in the conflict, it is of greater likelihood that more and more companies will choose not to moor at the CDM," according to the Winter.

The aforementioned developments provide a stalemate at the dock company, which many fear that the failure of the public company is inevitable.

"There is also an ongoing American lawsuit, started in 2011, against Curacao. The country is seriously at risk here of being held liable for the 120 million dollars,” De Winter indicated.

He states that it is arguably the country that actually makes the decisions within the Dry Dock Company and stressed that ‘the risk is real’.

The Cubans already filed a lawsuit in 2007 for exploitation, where they were vindicated by the American judge who considered their treatment at the CDM as modern slavery.

The original amount of 80 million dollars was partially assigned to them as compensation and partly in punitive damages (where the goal is not to recover the victim in his or her position, but to punish the company).

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