Arrest of marine vessel MV PELAGOS directed in light of maritime claim under Section 4(1)(n) of Admiralty Act

Calcutta High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Ashis Kumar Chakraborty, J. allowed an application for arrest of marine vessel filed in an admiralty suit.

The plaintiff claimed to have a maritime claim against the defendant vessel for USD 234,286.24 on account of supply of bunkers and fuel to her at different ports in Durban, Istanbul, Singapore, Balboa, the port of Klaipeda and the port of Bhushan, South Korea. The defendant vessel MV PELAGOS was berthed at the Haldia Port, within the admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court. The plaintiff relied on Section 4(1)(n) of the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017. It was stated that the plaintiff had filed an action in personam against the owner of the vessel in Greece. It was contended that filing of such action in personam against the owner of the defendant does not affect its right to file the present action in rem against the defendant vessel.

The High Court considered the submissions and the record. It was noted that the plaintiff claimed great urgency in moving the application as the vessel was likely to leave Haldia Port within the course of the day. The Court was of the view that the plaintiff had made out a prima facie case and the balance of convenience also lies in its favour for obtaining an ad-interim order for arrest of the defendant’s vessel. Accordingly, the order was made for arrest of the vessel MV PELAGOS lying within the Indian territorial waters at Haldia Port. However, it was directed, if the owner or parties in the defendant vessel deposit Rs 1,75,20,037 as a security with the Registrar, original side of the High Court, the order of arrest shall stand vacated. The application was made returnable on 31-8-2018. [Gram Marine PTE Ltd. v. Owners and Parties interested in the Vessel MV PELAGOS,2018 SCC OnLine Cal 5834, dated 30-08-2018]

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