CNMI ship released after legal battle resolved

8:35 am on 25 February 2017

The freighter MV Luta, which has been tied up by a dispute in the Northern Marianas for months, is to be released to its owners after Japanese investor Takahisa Yamamoto agreed to a settlement with the vessel's custodian, National Maritime Services.

Mr Yamamoto owed $US130,000 in custodial fees to the company and the District Court gave the release order on Wednesday after he reached a deal with the company.

Mr Yamamoto had sued MV Luta owner, Luta Mermaid, for allegedly refusing to pay back the $US3.4 million that he put up for the vessel.

The vessel was arrested shortly after the U.S. Marshal Service seized the ship last October and National Maritime Services were appointed as the substitute custodians of the vessel.

The court earlier ruled that Mr Yamamoto was in a joint venture in the ship's operations.