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Accounting Matters

An admiralty court will not entertain a suit for an accounting between co-owners of a vessel, or between maritime adventurers, or between a principal and an agent.[i]  Nevertheless, when an accounting is necessary to the complete adjustment of rights over which admiralty has independent jurisdiction, the court will not suspend its remedies midway and require the parties to resort to another court.[ii]  However, the admiralty court has the power to dispose of the proceeds of a vessel and order the payment of nonmaritime liens.[iii]

While the admiralty court exercises its jurisdiction upon equitable principles, it cannot entertain a bill for specific performance,  or declare or enforce a trust or an equitable title, or exercise jurisdiction in matters of account merely, or decree the sale of a ship for an unpaid mortgage, or declare her to be the property of the mortgagees and direct possession of her to be given to them. [iv]

[i] Vera, Inc. v. Tug “Dakota“, 769 F. Supp. 451 (E.D.N.Y. 1991)

[ii] Swift & Co. Packers v. Compania Colombiana Del Caribe, S. A., 339 U.S. 684 (U.S. 1950)

[iii] The Ada, 250 F. 194 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1918)

[iv] In re The Steamer Eclipse, 135 U.S. 599 (U.S. 1890)

Inside Accounting Matters