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This paper deals with a number of possibilities for creditors of a time charterer, who has become insolvent, to obtain recovery of their claims. Holders of a charterers’ bill of lading might try to make a claim in tort against the vessel owner or find some other grounds to arrest the carrying vessel. The unpaid shipowner might try to exercise a lien on the cargo or on the sub-freight. These possibilities will be explored. In these instances the law applicable to the bill of lading contract may be important. In this connection attention is paid to the question whether the Rome I and Rome II Regulations apply to such a contract. Finally, some observations are made with respect to jurisdiction under the Brussels I Regulation. Special attention is given to jurisdiction clauses in bills of lading.
I would like to deal with the subject of property-related claims on the basis of the following example. As often occurs these days, the time charterer of a vessel becomes insolvent and the creditors of the time charterer are looking for ways to obtain payment of their claims. What are the possibilities open to these creditors to obtain payment of their claims, apart from making a claim against the trustee or receiver in bankruptcy? I will first address the position of ordinary creditors and bill of lading holders, following which I will consider the position of the shipowner. In the second part of the article I will address the question whether Rome I1 and Rome II2 govern the law applicable to bills of lading. Finally, I will look at some jurisdictional problems. The examples given below of property-related claims will show that the term comprises various aspects.
2. Claims by ordinary creditors of time charterers
Ordinary creditors, such as the suppliers of bunkers and equipment, may try to arrest the bunkers on board the vessel. Under Dutch law they are entitled to arrest the bunkers on board the vessel, provided that these bunkers belong to the charterers. What is the law applicable to the ownership of the bunkers?