Possession

This restrictive judicial interpretation of the wording of the 1956 Act has now been relaxed by the revised wording to be found in Section 21 (4) of the 1981 Act. The requirement now is that the alternative ship selected for arrest be wholly beneficially owned by the ‘relevant person’ i.e. the person who would be liable on the claim in an action in personam. Thus, there is no longer the requirement for there to be a ‘common ownership link’ between the involved ship and the alternative ship. Section 21 (4) of the 1981 Act reads as follows: “In the case of any such claim as is mentioned in Section 20 (2) (e to r), where: The claim arises in connection with a ship; and the person who would be liable on the claim in an action in personam (the relevant person) was, when the cause of action arose, the owner or charterer of or in possession or in control of, the ship an action in rem may (whether or not the claim gives rise to a maritime lien on that ship) be brought in the High Court against: That ship, if at the time when the action is brought the relevant person is either the beneficial owner of that ship in respect of all its shares or the charterer of it under a charter by demise; or any other ship of which, at the time when the action is brought, the relevant person is the beneficial owner in respect of all the shares in it”. It can be seen from the above that the ‘relevant person’ may be either: The owner of the ‘wrongdoing’ ship. The charterer of the ‘wrongdoing’ ship. The person in possession of or in control of the ‘wrongdoing’ ship. Thus, the ‘wrongdoing’ ship may be arrested by means of the action in rem where the relevant person is either: The beneficial owner of that ship in respect of all its shares. Or the charterer of the ship under a charter by demise.