Feoso Oil Limited v. The "Sarla"

In Admiralty Practice, In Rem Actions and Arrest on (Updated )

This was a motion for summary judgment involving a claim by the Plaintiff for non-payment of an invoice relating to bunkers supplied to the Defendant ship. The ship had been under a time charter although it was not clear whether the charter had come to an end before the bunkers were ordered. The Defendant owners resisted the claim and the motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the bunkers were not ordered by or on behalf of the owners. The Court of Appeal re-affirmed the general principle that an action in rem cannot be sustained unless the bunkers (or other necessaries) were supplied to the ship at the request of owners or by someone acting on their behalf and with authority to bind them. The Court held, however, that the evidence as to who ordered the bunkers was contradictory and that there was an issue of credibility that could not be resolved on a motion for summary judgment. In result, the Court held that there was a genuine issue for trial.