2779595

A maritime repair company, based in Jamaica, has invoked the jurisdiction of the local courts to help resolve its dispute with a former client over unpaid fees.

Guardian Media understands that earlier this month, German Ship Repair Jamaica Limited applied for and obtained an arrest warrant against the general cargo and container ship “Mabrooka”.

According to the company’s court filings, obtained by Guardian Media, it is claiming that the owners of the vessel, Panama-based Mabrooka Trading, and Maritime Transport Company, owes it US$201,000 for repairs it recently performed on the vessel.

Last month, the company applied for an arrest warrant in Guyana’s Supreme Court as the vessel was in that country’s waters at the time.

However, it could not execute it as its satellite tracking system was not functioning.

“This suggests that the Master of the vessel has switched off their “AIS” system and is attempting to evade legal process,” the company’s lawyers Nyree Alfonso and Asif Hosein-Shah said in their court filings.

A similar application was filed locally after the vessel was discovered docked in Pointe-a-Pierre as it engaged in bunkering.

The arrest warrant was eventually granted by High Court Judge Kevin Ramcharan on June 8 and the vessel remained under the control of the Admiralty Marshall.

The company initially demanded $350,000 in security to release the vessel, however, attorneys representing the vessel’s owners subsequently made an application for bail to be set by a court pending the determination of legal proceedings between the parties.

After a brief virtual hearing yesterday morning, Justice Frank Seepersad granted an order permitting the release of the vessel provided that its owners provide a US$270,000 security bond.

Seepersad also granted another order permitting the temporary relocation of the vessel to Port-of-Spain, pending release, as the vessel’s owner claimed that it was incurring higher daily fees whilst docked in Pointe-a-Pierre.

“The potential saving by shifting the vessel to Port-of-Spain is therefore likely to be in the region of US$500 a day or more,” the vessel’s lawyers said in their court filings.

The vessel’s owner also indicated that despite its application, it would be still defending the claim.

“The defendant reserves the right to submit that the arrest of the vessel is wrongful and outside the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, that the quantum of the claim is overstated, and the security demanded excessive,” they said.

The vessel’s owner is being represented by Gilbert Peterson, SC, Stacy Benjamin-Roach and Curtis Cave.