Libertatem Magazine

Gujarat HC Orders the arrest of Vessel as an Interim Order, on the plea of the aggrieved Plaintiff

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This suit had been taken by the court on “urgent circulation” in relation to an urgent interim order. The brief facts are that on or around 16 October 2019, the Plaintiff was approached by One Mr Zhang from IMC Shipping Co. Pte. Ltd. acting on behalf of the Defendant Vessel, for the supply of “Bunkers” at Lagos between 25 October 2019 – 30 October 2019. That the Plaintiff agreed and confirmed to supply on its General terms and Conditions, and soon completed pre-supply formalities and loaded Bunkers, however suddenly Mr Zhang acting for the Defendant Vessel,  cancelled the supply for bunkers to the due to which Plaintiff had to bear all necessary cost i.e. transportation cost. The Plaintiff raised an Invoice for an amount of USD 52,200 and waited for payment, it was noted that till date no payment had been received, as the supply is dealt by the Plaintiff’ General Terms and Conditions which also provides for cancellation fees and also for the dispute to be resolved through Arbitration, the Plaintiff is inclined to commence Arbitration. But the Defendant Vessel is presently at Mundra Port and likely to sail away on completion of cargo operations and the present suit is filed for action in rem and also for security pending Arbitration, and inter alia prayed for the arrest of the Defendant Vessel.

Court’s Decision

The Court ordered the Registrar of the Court to issue a warrant for the arrest of the Defendant’s vessel, MV Grand Hermes along with her hull, engines, gears, tackles, bunkers, machinery, apparel, plant, furniture’s, equipment and all appurtenances, at present lying Mundra Port within the Indian territorial waters, and that the Port Officer and the Customs Authorities at Mundra Port do effect the arrest, seizure or detention of the Defendant Vessel. The Court further ordered that those interested in the depositing of the Vessel due to the cost of the Cancellation fee of USD 52,200 plus costs Arbitration amounting to USD 100,000 as per the Maritime Law of the United States, Title 9 of the United States Code, and the Uniform Commercial Code as applied in New York plus USD 5,000 for the cost of litigation in India aggregating USD 157,200 with further interest at the rate of 2% per month from the date of suit till its realisation as per particulars of claim.

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