June 18th, 2020
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Martin Energy Services, LLC v. Bourbon Petrel M/V
Opinion Date: June 17, 2020
Judge: Stuart Kyle Duncan
Areas of Law: Admiralty & Maritime Law
After Martin delivered free fuel to three support vessels owned by CGG, the support vessels then carried the fuel in their cargo tanks to refuel three other vessels. Martin filed suit after CGG failed to pay for the fuel. The Fifth Circuit held that the district court's conclusion that Martin had a maritime lien on the support vessels unduly expanded the court's maritime lien precedents. Under the Commercial Instruments and Maritime Liens Act, a person may obtain a maritime lien against a vessel by providing it with "necessaries." The court explained that fuel may be necessary to a vessel if it fuels the vessel, but the fuel transported by the support vessels in this case was for refueling other vessels. Therefore, the court held that the fuel was not necessary to the support vessels and reversed the district court's judgment.
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