A HIGH Court judge has set $1.8 million bail for the release of a ship that was arrested in TT waters.
Justice Frank Seepersad on Monday granted an order, setting bail for the vessel MV Mabrooka's release.
Bail was set in the sum of US$270,000. He also ordered that an appropriate bond or security in that sum must be provided by a reputable financial institution that will be furnished to a Jamaican ship repair company, German Ship Repair Jamaica, and a copy to the Registrar of the High Court.
In the interim, until the bond or security s provided, Seepersad gave permission for the vessel to be transported, under the supervision of the Admiralty Marshal, from its Pointe-a-Pierre anchorage to the Port of Spain anchorage. The location is to be provided to the marshal five hours before it is moved and after the bond or security is paid, the Mabrooka will be released from arrest.
The ship, a container vessel, was arrested on June 9 by Justice Kevin Ramcharan after German Ship Repair Jamaica sought an arrest warrant on a claim for payment of US210,000 which it said it was owed for repairs and equipment, including an anchor, provided to Mabrooka.
The Mabrooka is owned by a Panama-based company and is run by a company based in Istanbul, Turkey.
In its claim for payment, the Jamaican company said the ship was the subject of a warrant issued by the Guyana Supreme Court on May 29.
However, before the warrant of arrest could be executed, the vessel left Guyana’s territorial waters and, according to the claim filed on June 9, anchored in the waters of Pointe-a-Pierre.
Before Justice Ramcharan, the Jamaican ship repair company expressed fear that it was likely to leave TT’s waters after taking bunkers and its owners will try to take the ship out of the Caribbean, since it trades between Qatar and various Caribbean territories.
German Ship Repair Jamaica was represented by attorney Nyree Alfonso. The owners of the Mabrooka were represented by attorneys Gilbert Peterson, SC, and Stacy Benjamin-Roach.
In support of their application for bail, the ship’s owners asked for permission to shift anchorage to Port of Spain,said the proceedings in Guyana were never served on the Mabrooka and they were not aware of the costs relied on by the ship repair company.
In the bail application, the owners said bail of US$270,000 would be more than reasonable and would cover the costs claimed by the ship repair company.
It added that pending the posting of bail, the vessel was accruing losses, costs and now that it is under arrest in Pointe-a-Pierre, there were daily customs duties and other harbour fees to be paid.
It claimed that the arrest of the vessel was wrongful and the claim by the ship repair company was overstated.