Abitibi-Price Sales v. C.V. The "Bontegracht"

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

This was an appeal from a decision of a Prothonotary. The Statement of Claim had been issued on July 11, 1997. On August 14, 1998, after the Statement of Claim had expired, the Plaintiff obtained a Warrant of Arrest and threatened to arrest the "Bontegracht" at Baie Comeau, Quebec. The Defendants provided a letter of undertaking to prevent the arrest. The Defendants subsequently brought this motion to set aside the Warrant and the Plaintiffs brought a motion for an extension of time to serve the vessel. Both the Prothonotary at first instance and the appeal judge held that the Arrest Warrant had been issued out of time. The arrest was set aside and the Plaintiff was ordered to return the letter of undertaking. The Plaintiff was, however, allowed an additional six months in which to properly serve the Statement of Claim on the vessel. The fact that the vessel had been in Canadian waters on two prior occasions was not sufficient to disentitle the Plaintiff to the relief sought as the Plaintiff had taken reasonable measures to track the vessel.