Marine vessel ordered to be arrested in light of maritime claim under Section 4 of Admiralty Act

Calcutta High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Ashis Kumar Chakraborty, J., ordered a marine vessel to be arrested while deciding on the affidavit of arrest filed in an admiralty suit.

The plaintiff prayed for arrest of a marine vessel M.T. Aquarius, flying with Barbados flag, lying at Haldia Dock within the jurisdiction of Calcutta High Court. Plaintiff alleged to have a maritime claim against the defendant vessel of Rs 28,06,31,328 on account of her failure to deliver the cargo of gas oil to the plaintiff at the port of Mukalla, Yemen. It was the case of the plaintiff that the defendant vessel, instead of delivering the said gas oil cargo at Makalla, delivered the same to a third party at Hamriyah, UAE.

The High Court, considering all the facts and circumstances, was of the view that the plaintiff had made a prima facie case and balance of convenience also lie in its favour. The Court also found favour with the submission of the plaintiff that its claim gave rise to a maritime claim under Section 4(1)(f) of the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017. It was also noted that the defendant’s vessel was likely to leave Indian Territorial Waters during the next few days. Accordingly, the Court ordered arrest of the defendant vessel, M.T. Aquarius, along with her tackle, hull, engine, equipments, apparels, furniture and all movables lying on board. However, it was clarified that on payment of the amount stated hereinabove as security with the Registrar of the Court, the order of arrest shall stand vacated. The application was made returnable on a further date.  [Quick Time General Trading LLC v. Owners and Parties Interested in the Vessel M.T. Aquarius,2018 SCC OnLine Cal 5363, dated 10-08-2018]

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