F.C. Yachts Ltd. v. Vessel Bearing Hull No. QFY10703E709 (Yacht)

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

The Plaintiff builder was building two yachts for the Defendant. The first yacht was substantially completed and payments were up to date. The Defendant was, however, alleged to be in arrears on the payments in respect of the second yacht. The builder commenced proceedings in respect of the second yacht but arrested the first yacht as a sistership to the second yacht. The Defendant brought this application to set aside the in rem action and the arrest. The Defendant argued that it was not the “beneficial owner” of the first yacht or the owner of the second yacht. The recorded owner of both yachts was the Plaintiff but the construction contracts provided that title was to be transferred to the Defendant upon completion. Moreover, the Defendant was the mortgagee in respect of both yachts. On these facts, the Court held that the Defendant’s interest in the first yacht was exactly what the contract documents said, it was the mortgagee and not the beneficial owner. In result, the in rem actions were struck and the arrest was set aside.