Cyber Sea Technologies Inc. v. Underwater Harvester

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

In this matter a submersible was arrested and the Defendant brought an application, inter alia, to release the submersible without bail or, in the alternative, to post security. The grounds for the Defendant’s application were that the action was without merit and that the dispute was subject to arbitration. The Prothonotary held that it is only in exceptional circumstances that a vessel will be released from arrest without bail. Moreover, the fact that the dispute was subject to arbitration did not disentitle the Plaintiff to security. The fact of arbitration was, however, relevant to the amount of security. In setting the amount of the security the Prothonotary took into account that each party was required to pay its own costs of the arbitration.

Another issue was whether a submersible device used to cut trees in a flooded but unlogged reservoir was a ship so as to attract the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal Court. The Prothonotary referred to the definition of ship in the Federal Court Act, being, “any vessel or craft designed, used or capable of being used solely or partly for navigation, without regard to the method or lack of propulsion…”. The Prothonotary noted that this was a very general and broad definition that seemed to encompass anything on or in the water and ultimately concluded that the submersible was, in all probability, a ship and that the Federal Court therefore had jurisdiction.