Ship Arrest Invalid

Monday, September 26, 2005
In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that a ship arrest is invalid where there is no underlying maritime lien. In the instant case, plaintiff bunker supplier contracted to provide bunkers in Singapore to a Panamanian ship owned by a Maltese company. The contract was negotiated in Greece (where plaintiff was domiciled) and in Italy (where the ship owner was headquartered). Greek law was held to be controlling. The bunkers were delivered in accordance with the contract, but payment was never made. The ship was later sold. Plaintiff subsequently arrested the ship in the United States. The trial court dismissed the complaint and plaintiff appealed. The court held that, since the law of Greece does not provide a maritime lien for provision of necessaries, there was nothing underlying the arrest warrant. A maritime arrest only allows for execution of a lien, it does not create a lien. Vestoil, Ltd. v. M/V M Pioneer, No. 05-12183 (11th Cir. - HK Law)

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