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In Rem Maritime Lien Ruling in Cianbro v. George H. Dean, Inc.

By FindLaw Staff on February 23, 2010 10:13 AM

In Cianbro v. George H. Dean, Inc., No. 09-1574, the First Circuit dealt with the issue of whether an in rem maritime lien should be allowed against plaintiff's vessels, arising from a Vessel Conversion Contract to convert the vessels from sulfur tankers into multi-purpose supply vessels.

Under 46 U.S.C. section 31342(a), to establish a maritime lien on a vessel, the lien claimant must prove, inter alia, that it provided necessaries to the vessel on the order of the owner or a person authorized by the owner.

As stated in the decision: "Dean Steel has provided no evidence that it had dealings with the vessels or their owners.  Dean Steel dealt only with Hub and provided the steel to Hub.  Whatever happened to the steel after Hub took possession of it from Dean Steel broke the chain of events leading to the establishment of the martime lien as far as the vessels are concerned."

Thus, in upholding the district court's decision, the court concluded that the claimant failed to make factual showing that it provided for necessaries to the vessels, or that it acted on the order of the vessels' owner or a person authorized by the owner.

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