Aquavita International S.A. v. M/V Pantelis (Ship)

In Admiralty Jurisdiction on (Updated )

Précis: The Federal Court held that it did have jurisdiction over a claim by a sub-charterer for excessive bunkers on board the ship when re-delivered at the conclusion of the sub-charter.

Facts: The plaintiff was the sub-sub time charterer of the defendant vessel “Pantelis”. The plaintiff commenced this proceeding alleging that when it re-delivered the vessel there were bunkers aboard belonging to it and that these bunkers were consumed the defendants. The plaintiff arrested the “Pantelis”. The defendants brought this motion to strike the action and set aside the arrest on the grounds that the court was without jurisdiction.

Decision: Motion dismissed.

Held: The owners argue that s. 22(2)(m) of the Federal Courts Act has no application as the plaintiff was not a bunker supplier. However, a claim need not fall within one of the categories in s. 22(2) to be within the court’s admiralty jurisdiction. It is sufficient if a claim falls within s. 22(1) which is coextensive with Parliament’s jurisdiction over navigation and shipping What is at issue in this case “is fuel on board a ship, which fuel was allegedly used to propel her over the ocean blue. Nothing could be more maritime.”