TJ Inspection Services v. Halifax Shipyards

In Maritime Liens, Mortgages & Priorities on (Updated )

In this matter the Plaintiff was retained by the Defendant to provide detailed inspection services in connection with the construction of a production platform which, when completed, would be towed on board a barge to the off-shore production site. When placed the platform would rest on four legs on the sea floor. The Plaintiff was not paid by the Defendant and registered a lien against the platform under the Nova Scotia Mechanics Lien Act. The Defendant brought this application for summary judgment dismissing the Plaintiff’s claim. The motions Judge reviewed the relevant provision of the Mechanics Lien Act and noted that the validity of the Plaintiff’s lien depended on the platform being either an “erection” or a “vessel”. The motions Judge noted that the thrust of the legislation “is against the land” and held that the platform could not be an “erection” within the meaning of the Act since it was to be placed on the sea bed. With respect to the definition of “vessel”, the motions Judge referred to the definitions in the present Canada Shipping Act, in the not yet proclaimed Canada Shipping Act 2001 and in the Federal Court Act. He held that under any of these definitions a structure must be capable of floating to be a vessel and that since the platform was not capable of floating it was not a vessel. In result, the Defendant’s application was allowed and the lien was vacated.