philenews / ΚΥΠΕ
The Supreme Court, in its jurisdiction as the Maritime Court, unanimously annulled the arrest warrant of the tanker Agios Nikolaos following a request for a review of a previous decision of the same body, in a case concerning the ownership of the ship, which was originally tried in Greece.
The parties were the company that originally owned the ship, based in Hong Kong, and Rexel Corp., the company that bought it at a public auction in Greece last September and was registered as the owner of the ship in the Martial Islands register, with the first to challenge the procedures followed and to claim ownership.
The decision concerns the application of Rexel Corp. for review of the Decision of the Supreme Court d. 9/11/2021, rejecting her application, which had been filed at the end of last October, for the release / cancellation of a Ship Arrest Order, submitted in the context of the lawsuit filed by the first company.
The case had started in Greece when the plaintiffs filed an application for precautionary measures against Rexel Corp. before the Single Member Court of First Instance of Piraeus. and achieved a temporary ban on both the departure of the ship from the port of Elefsina and the change of its real and legal status. This was done without a summons from Rexel Corp. and was valid until September 21, 2021. This date was followed by the filing by the Plaintiffs of a lawsuit against Rexel Corp. at the Single-Member Court of First Instance of Piraeus, requesting that their full ownership of the ship be recognized, and that its return be ordered to the Plaintiffs, among others. The court, however, after hearing the side of Rexel Corp., did not accept the continuation of the temporary ban on the departure of the ship. He only accepted the continuation of the temporary ban on the change of the real and legal situation of the ship until 15/10/21.
Before the expiration of this prohibition, the Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit before the Supreme Court of the Republic of Cyprus in its jurisdiction as a Maritime Court, requesting the granting of substantial and final treatment, ie the issuance of an Identification Statement that they are the sole legal owners of the ship. They also filed a unilateral application, demanding the issuance of a Decree ordering the immediate arrest of the ship and the maintenance of the ship within the jurisdiction of Cyprus, to assist Greek Education.
The Supreme Court said in its decision that the Court of First Instance ruled that the Maritime Court Lawsuit was ancillary to the lawsuit filed by the Plaintiffs in Greece against Rexel and that pursuant to Article 35 of the European Rules of Jurisdiction, Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters it was possible to issue an Arrest Warrant to assist Greek Education.
He said that the question that arises is whether the issuance of the arrest warrant constitutes assistance to the Greek Court for the purposes of Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure. “As it turned out, in this case the Greek Court, which had the opportunity to issue a similar decree to the one issued by the Cypriot Court, initially issued it and then deemed it appropriate to annul it,” the decision states. Given these circumstances, it is added, it is not understood how the issuance of the Arrest Warrant aids Greek proceedings in the context of Greek Education and the Greek Court.
It is obvious that, as stated in the actual lawsuit (in rem) filed before the Cyprus Maritime Court, it could not be a basis for the issuance of a Ship Arrest Order to assist and in the alternative foreign court proceedings, ie the Greek lawsuit, he added.