A company linked to Cypriot billionaire Polys Haji-Ioannou is suing Sri Lanka's state oil company for $8m, alleging unpaid bills and a wrongful arrest.
Argos Shipping, registration company for 34,995-dwt Argos (built 1996), filed suit in Houston federal court Monday alleging Ceylon Petroleum Corp chartered the tanker, failed to make agreed upon payments, then had the ship arrested in Sri Lanka and held for six months.
An email to Ceylon Petroleum was bounced back and voice messages were unable to be left.
Argos Shipping, run by Haji-Ioannou's World Tankers Management, alleges it is owed $3.9m after Ceylon did not make two payments on a summer 2014 charter and fuel on board.
The lawsuit also alleges Ceylon attempted to sub-charter the Argos to Luna Shipping & Enterprises.
In September 2014, the ship was arrested in Sri Lanka with Luna accusing Argos Shipping of misrepresenting its condition and inspection status. Luna claimed $18m in damages.
The ship was ordered released that January on $1m bond, but Luna made several failed attempts at appeal, the lawsuit says. The Argos was released in March.
Argos Shipping also wants to recoup $527,997 from an arbitration award won in London that Ceylon is trying to appeal.
The lawsuit was filed in Houston as property "in the hands" of BP and Gulf Oil.
The total of the missed payments, wrongful arrest, arbitration, fees and interest, according to the lawsuit, is no less than $8m.