Maritime lien Definition, Object and scope. Part 2
S J Tubrazy
The crew members and master having maritime lien on the sale proceeds could claim satisfaction to the extent of decree passed in their favour. It is true that maritime law recognises the right of the lienee in the nature of proprietary rights in the res or its sale proceeds but if the maritime lien or a decree based on such claim is satisfied out of the sale proceeds leaving a surplus balance in the bands of the Court, the same would be appropriated for the satisfaction of claims ranking lower in priorities. In cases of a maritime hence, the interest accrued on such amount being accretion to the same would be appropriated to the extent of satisfaction of the decree. The fact that any interest accrued to the sale proceeds should in all circumstances be rateably distributed amongst the claimants does not seem to be correct. The lienee or a decree‑holder could claim satisfaction of what had been awarded to him. The Court holds the sale proceeds for satisfaction of the claims/decrees and not for reteable distribution of the surplus amount left in hand after satisfaction of the decrees amongst the claimants and decree‑holders. Interest for the period from the institution of the suit till the date of decree or realisation could not be claimed as a matter of right. Grant of such interest was within the discretion of the Court and could be awarded at the time of passing the decree. A person could claim interest if the agreement or law provides for it or there exist equitable grounds for awarding interest.
The ranking of rival claims is determined with reference to consideration of equity, public policy and commercial expediency with the object of justly settling the claims. The crew members and master have preferential, higher and prior right on equitable grounds and public policy to protect the seamen’s right which had always been of great concern to Admiralty Courts all over the world. Crew members and master after satisfaction of their entire claim could not on equitable grounds as well ask for further amount by way of interest not granted to them under the decree.