473. Belfry Marine Ltd v Palm Base Maritime SDN BHD (the “Heavy Metal”) 1999 (3) SA 1083 (SCA)

Associated ship arrest – arrest provisions contemplating alternative repositories of power – either sufficing to establish association

The Facts

The guilty ship was sold with defects.

The purchasers sought to arrest the target vessel which had a majority shareholder and sole director in common with the guilty ship.

The shareholder held the shares as a nominee. He claimed that the vessels were not owned by the same beneficial owners, despite circumstantial evidence pointing to common beneficial ownership.

The most important point in issue was the interpretation of the following section of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act:

A person shall be deemed to control a company if he has power, directly or indirectly, to control the company.

Findings

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