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PODGORICA (Montenegro), December 9 (SeeNews) – Italian company Ocean S.R.L. is considering the launch of an international arbitration case against Montenegro over the country's decision to introduce a second pilotage, mooring and tug operator at Bar port, Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.
The introduction of a second pilotage operator at the Adriatic port may cause navigation safety problems and will violate the concession agreement with Ocean Montenegro, ANSA quoted the president of Ocean Montenegro, Erich Cossutta, as saying.
The Italian company, which is the pilotage, mooring and tug services concessionaire of Bar port through its local subsidiary Ocean Montenegro, expects the traffic at the port to decrease and believes that the awarding of a new concession contract would be in breach of EU regulations and practices, Cossutta said.
Montenegro's transport ministry approved in November the launch of a tender for a second concession for the delivery of pilotage services at Bar port, justifying its decision with the expected cargo traffic increase at the harbour.
"The state is in no way in breach of its contractual obligations, because the concession agreement did not guarantee any exclusive right of Ocean Montenegro to provide port services," Montenegrin daily Vijesti quoted sources from the transport ministry as saying in November.
Ocean S.R.L. acquired in 2010 Montenegrin company Pomorski Poslovi, the holder of a 30-year concession for the delivery of pilotage services at Bar port, and changed its name to Ocean Montenegro. The Italian company controls a 80% stake in the capital of Ocean Montenegro, while the remainder is held by Montenegrin firm Logicar, owned by UK-based Gladevale Investments Limited.