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Recovery of unpaid disbursements
Port agents requested the assistance of the Club to recover unpaid disbursements amounting to £24,900. The owners operated a fleet of approximately 40 ships, each of which was owned by a separate one-ship Panamanian company.
The Club's demands for payment were ignored and consideration was given to the arrest of the vessel. Unfortunately, enquiries showed that the vessel did not trade in waters which made this possible. However, the laws in France permit the arrest of associated ships if it can be proved that the shareholders of the owning company of the vessel which incurred the disbursements, the shareholders of other one-ship companies and the shareholders of the holding company are virtually identical.
This proved to be the case in this instance. Reference to Lloyds Shipping Index revealed that an associated ship owned by another company within the group was heading for France and the Club's French lawyers were instructed to arrest her on arrival.
This was done and the Club succeeded in recovering £33,945 representing the amount of the debt plus interest and costs.