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Inchcape Shipping Services, Inc. v. M/Y Bramble

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

January 6, 2020

INCHCAPE SHIPPING SERVICES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
M/Y BRAMBLE, its engines, tackle and appurtenances, In Rem, and BRAMBLE HISTORICAL EPIC COMPANIES, LLC, In Personam, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          TERRY F. MOORER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Intervenor Plaintiff JP's Marine Services, LLC's, Unopposed Motion for Partial Disbursement of Sale Proceeds. Doc. 73, filed December 18, 2019. Intervenor Plaintiff JP's Marine Services, LLC, requests the Court approve a partial disbursement of the sale proceeds of the M/Y BRAMBLE to Global Maritime Security for its custodia legis services that it rendered as a court-appointed substitute custodian for the benefit of the M/Y BRAMBLE. Id. at 3. Having considered the motion, the absence of opposition to the motion, and relevant law, the Court finds the Motion for Partial Disbursement of Sale Proceeds is due to be GRANTED.

         I. THE PARTIES

         Hereinafter, the Court will refer to Plaintiff Inchcape Shipping Services, Inc., as “Inchcape;” Intervenor Plaintiff JP's Marine Services, LLC, as “JPMS;” Substitute Custodian Global Maritime Security as “Global Maritime;” Intervenor Alabama Shipyard, LLC, as “Alabama Shipyard;” in rem Defendant M/Y BRAMBLE as the “Vessel;” Defendant Bramble Historic Epic Companies, LLC, as “Bramble Historic;” and Defendant Orinoco Natural Resources, LLC, as “Orinoco.”

         II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On August 2, 2019, Inchcape filed its Verified Complaint in which it brought its maritime lien claim against the Vessel in rem, and the Vessel's owner, Bramble Historic, in personam, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1333, Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(h), and the Federal Maritime Lien Act, 46 U.S.C. §§ 31301-31343, for necessaries and services that were provided to the Vessel. Doc. 1. On the same day, Inchcape requested the Court issue a Warrant of Arrest for the Vessel and substitute Global Maritime as custodian of the Vessel in lieu of the United States Marshal. Docs. 2-3. The Court granted Inchcape's requests. Docs. 4, 6.

         On August 27, 2019, pursuant to Rule C(4), Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Action (“Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims”), and S.D. Ala. CivLR 102(b), Inchcape requested the Court approve its “Notice of Action In Rem and Arrest of Vessel” and authorize Inchcape to publish said notice. Doc. 12. The Court granted Inchcape's request, approved Inchcape's notice, and ordered Inchcape to publish the notice in accordance with S.D. Ala. CivLR 102(b). Doc. 13.

         On September 16, 2019, Inchcape filed its motion to amend its complaint, which the Court granted, to add Orinoco as a defendant upon information that Orinoco may have been an owner of the Vessel. Docs. 16-17. Inchcape filed its amended complaint on September 17, 2019. Doc. 18.

         On September 23, 2019, Inchcape filed its proof of publication of the notice. Doc. 21. On September 26, 2019, JPMS timely filed its Verified Complaint in Intervention to assert its maritime lien claims. Doc. 22.

         On October 8, 2019, Inchcape filed its Motion for Interlocutory Sale of Vessel in which it requested, pursuant to Rule E(9), Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims, the Court condemn and sell the Vessel at a public sale, the proceeds of said sale be held in the Registry of the Court pending final judgment in this matter, and to issue notice of the sale in accordance with S.D. Ala. CivLR 104(m)(1). Doc. 26. JPMS joined in Inchcape's motion. Doc. 27. On October 15, 2019, the Court granted Inchcape's motion, set the Vessel's public sale date on November 6, 2019, and ordered notice of the sale be appropriately published. Doc. 30. Upon unopposed motion by Inchcape, the Court authorized the use of National Liquidators as a broker to promote the sale of the Vessel and its fees for such services would be considered a custodia legis cost. Docs. 35, 40.

         On October 24, 2019, Alabama Shipyard filed its Verified Complaint in Intervention to asserts its maritime lien claims. Doc. 34.

         On November 5, 2019, Inchcape filed its Joint Motion to Reschedule Marshal's Sale in which it requested the Court reschedule the public sale of the Vessel to allow the broker additional time to stoke interest in the Vessel. Doc. 41. The Court granted Inchcape's motion, rescheduled the public sale to December 4, 2019, and ordered notice of the sale be appropriately published. Doc. 42.

         On December 4, 2019, the Vessel was sold at public auction to Modern American Recycling Services, Inc., for $80, 000.00, which amount was deposited with the Court. Doc. 56. On December 12, 2019, the Court confirmed the sale of the Vessel and transferred the Vessel's title to Modern American Recycling Services, Inc. Doc. 69.

         On December 6, 2019, Global Maritime filed its Motion for Payment of In Custodia Legis Expenses and to be Released as the Substitute Custodian. Doc. 55. On December 9, 2019, Alabama Shipyard filed its Motion for Payment of In Custodia Legis Expenses. Doc. 57. On December 10, 2019, Inchcape filed its Motion for (1) Payment of Custodia Legis Expenses and (2) Order Determining Further Allocation of Same. Doc. 61. ...


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