Decision ID: 001970

In October 2006 the 1992 Fund Executive Committee recalled that the Spanish State had taken legal action against the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) before the Federal Court of first instance in New York requesting compensation for all damage caused by the incident and that ABS had in its turn taken action against the State requesting that the State be ordered to indemnify ABS for any amount it might be obliged to pay pursuant to any judgement against it in relation to the Prestige incident.The Committee noted that the New York Court had in July 2006 confirmed its decision to dismiss ABS’s counterclaim on the grounds that the Spanish State was entitled to sovereign immunity, but had granted ABS permission to re-submit its counterclaim on different grounds. It was noted that the Court had stated that the protection of a foreign state from suit was subject to certain exceptions, mainly that a foreign state would be susceptible to a counterclaim if that claim arose out of the same transaction that was the subject of the claim by the foreign state or to the extent that the counterclaim did not seek relief exceeding in amount or differing in kind from that sought by the foreign state. It was noted that the Court had also stated that although both sets of claims related to the Prestige incident, they did not arise from the same transaction; whereas ABS’s claim was based on the alleged duties of the Spanish State in connection with the vessel’s distress, the Spanish State’s claim was based on ABS’s deviation from the proper practices of classification societies. It was noted that in July 2006 ABS had resubmitted its counterclaim requesting indemnification from the Spanish State in the event that a third party obtained a judgement against ABS, but that in September 2006 the Spanish State had requested the Court to dismiss the counterclaim on the grounds of the Court’s lack of jurisdiction on the matter. It was further noted that the Court had not yet taken a decision on the matter.

Date: 30.09.2006
Category: Legal actions
Subject: Legal actions against third parties