Nanaimo Harbour Link Corp. v. Abakhan & Associates Inc.

In Maritime Liens, Mortgages & Priorities on (Updated )

This matter concerned the bankruptcy of the owner and operator of a passenger ferry. The issue was whether maritime lien claimants are caught by the statutory stay of proceedings under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. More specifically, the issue was whether the maritime claimants could proceed with their actions in the Federal Court and have priorities determined in accordance with Canadian maritime law. The claimants were the Captain and crew of the vessel and two ship repairers with unpaid invoices for repairs done to the vessel. The mortgagee of the vessel opposed the application to lift the stay of proceedings arguing that the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and not Canadian maritime law determined the priorities. The Court held that the priorities were to be determined in accordance with Canadian maritime law, that the claims for seamen’s wages were maritime lien claims, that the claims by the ship repairers, although not maritime liens, might be elevated by the court on equitable principles and they should have the opportunity to argue this, and, finally, that the fact that the ferry was an intra-provincial ferry did not oust Canadian maritime law.