Kremikovtzi Trade v. Phoenix Bulk Carriers Ltd.

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

This was a claim in rem against the owners and all others interested in a particular cargo. This particular application was a re-hearing of various issues that had been referred back to the Court of Appeal after the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the Court of Appeal on the issue of in rem jurisdiction in Phoenix Bulk Carriers Ltd. v. Kremikovtzi Trade, 2007 SCC 13 (CanLII). The issues now considered were first, whether the affidavit to lead warrant was sufficient and second whether the Statement of Claim should be struck on the grounds that did not disclose a cause of action or was otherwise scandalous, frivolous or vexatious. Regarding the Affidavit to Lead Warrant, the Defendant argued that the affidavit did not disclose the basis for invoking the court’s in rem jurisdiction as required by the Rules. However, the affidavit specifically referred to the subsections of s.22 and 43 relied upon and the Court held that this was sufficient. With respect to the Statement of Claim, it was alleged the claim was deficient in that it did not contain an in personam claim to support the in rem claim. The Court agreed that there could be no in rem claim without an in personam claim however the Court noted the Statement of Claim contained an allegation that the owners of the cargo at the time of the breach of contract were the owners at the time of the commencement of the action and held that this supported an in personam claim. Finally the Court considered whether Kremikovtzi was the beneficial owner of the cargo at the time the cause of action arose and at the time of commencement of the action. The Court noted that the issue was a difficult one but ultimately concluded that it was at least arguable and hence the Statement of Claim was not frivolous and vexatious.