Marine vessel ordered to be arrested in light of maritime claim under Section 4 of Admiralty Act, 2017

Calcutta High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Ashis Kumar Chakraborty, decided an admiralty suit wherein it directed the arrest of defendant vessel on finding that prima facie case was made out in favour of the petitioner.

The suit was filed under Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017. The petitioner’s claim was that they had a maritime claim of over USD 4 mn against the defendant vessel, which was currently lying at the port of Budge Budge. The claim was put forth on account of losses caused as a result of deterioration of cargo; losses caused due to delay in delivery of cargo, and losses suffered due to a decrease in the price of cargo resulting from the delayed delivery. According to the petitioner, its claim constituted a maritime claim under Section 4 of Admiralty Act which was enforced on April 1, 2018.

On considering the facts of the case, the Court found that petitioner had made out a prima facie case and balance of convenience also favoured the petitioner for obtaining an ex-parte order of arrest of the defendant vessel, which was likely to leave the Kolkata Port. Accordingly, an ad interim order of a one day arrest was passed against the defendant’s vessel. However, it was clarified that if the owner or other interested party deposit the claim amount as stated by the petitioner; the order of arrest shall stand automatically vacated. The matter was directed to be further placed on 29-06-2018. The matter being brought before the Court on 29-06-2018, the ad interim arrest order was extended till 04-07-2018, as none appeared on behalf of the defendant to oppose the application. The matter was directed to be listed again on 04-07-2018. [JVL Agro Industries Ltd. v. MT Prime Sun, 2018 SCC OnLine Cal 4030, order dated 28-6-2018 and 2018 SCC OnLine Cal 4128, order dated 29-06-2018]

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