Chapter 66

Tenth Edition (2017)

Priorities

The question of priorities is another factor to be considered before instituting the action for arrest. The Indian courts will decide questions of priority on the same principles as the Admiralty Court in England and a contractual claimant, e.g. with a low priority, may not be benefited by suing or arresting the ship in India if there be prior claimants who will take away the whole of the sale proceeds of the ship. However, if an appearance were to be entered and bail or security for his claim given and the ship released and it sails away before it is arrested by other claimants, his arrest will not be in vain.

In respect of claims arising out of collision or salvage or towage and if the vessel sued is entered with a P.& I. Club, it is usual to obtain from the ship owner an agreement to submit to the Admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court in England, along with an undertaking to give bail or other security and, as the claim will involve a consideration of the technicalities of navigation of ships, the claimant may find it advantageous to accede to such an agreement and undertaking and withdraw. It may however be noted that under section 140 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 in any Admiralty cause of salvage, towage or collision, the court whether it is exercising its original or its appellate jurisdiction may, if it thinks fit, and shall upon request of either party to such cause, summon to its assistance two competent assessors who shall attend the hearing and assist the court.
 
 
BCAS: 7103-1001
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