F/V Miss Penelope, continues to be valid against the F/V Miss Laura. Since
the process undertaken to preserve the F/V Miss Penelope's fishing permit
history does not fall within the standard definition and understanding of
the term "salvage", this Court holds that Maine Shipyard's maritime lien
against the F/V Miss Penelope was extinguished when the F/V Miss Penelope
sank and could not be saved.
"A maritime lien is a privileged claim upon maritime property . . .
arising out of services rendered to or injuries caused by that property."
Schoenbaum, Admiralty and Maritime Law, Third Edition, § 9-1, p. 494
(2001). Once a maritime lien attaches to the property, it remains adhered
to that property "until it is either executed through the in rem legal
process . . . or is somehow extinguished by operation of law." Id. The
general rule provides that the total destruction of a vessel will
extinguish all maritime liens existing on that vessel. Walsh, 104 F.2d at
132. However, "if only part of the vessel is destroyed . . . the lien
will attach to the remaining part." Schoenbaum, Admiralty and Maritime
Law, Third Edition, § 9-7 (2001).
Even if we accept that the F/V Miss Laura's fishing permits are
properties related to the F/V Miss Penelope, the rule on which Maine
Shipyard relies is inapplicable here. That rule assumes that some
physical part of the vessel has been salvaged in some way.*fn1 "[I]t is
equally well settled, that if any part of the vessel is saved, [the] lien
adheres to it, even to the last plank." Collins v. The Fort Wayne, 6 F.
Cas. 119, 122 (S.D.Ohio 1861) (emphasis added). When some physical
portion of a vessel is salvaged, a maritime lien may attach to it, but if
the entire vessel has been destroyed, all maritime liens against that
vessel are extinguished.
The traditional definition of salvage requires some kind of "saving or
rescuing." Webster's Third New International Dictionary 2006 (1993).
Furthermore, the law defines salvage as the "service which is voluntarily
rendered to a vessel needing assistance, and is designed to relieve her
from some distress or danger either present or to be reasonably
apprehended." Cargill v. M/T Pacific Dawn, 876 F. Supp. 508, 511
(S.D.N.Y. 1995). The process as defined in the regulations for obtaining
a confirmation of a vessel's permit history does not fall within the
standard definition and understanding of salvage.
Under the regulations, a person eligible to obtain a CPH must apply "no
later than 30 days prior to the end of the first full fishing year in
which a vessel permit cannot be issued." 50 C.F.R. Ch. VI §
648.4(a)(1)(i)(J). The CPH application process is not one that is done in
the presence or apprehension of distress or danger.
Furthermore, the confirmation of permit history only "preserves the
eligibility of the applicant to apply for a limited access permit for a
replacement vessel based on the qualifying vessel's fishing and permit
history at a subsequent time." Id. The CPH preserved Greenly's
eligibility to apply for subsequent limited access fishing
did not save or rescue any portion of the F/V Miss Penelope.
Construing the facts and inferences in a light most favorable to the
non-moving party, Maine Shipyard held a valid maritime lien on the F/V
Miss Penelope prior to its demise. However, once the F/V Miss Penelope
sank and was destroyed in January 1998, Maine Shipyard's maritime lien
was extinguished. Greenly's acquisition of subsequent limited access
fishing permits for the F/V Miss Laura based on the fishing and permit
history of the F/V Miss Penelope does not constitute a salvage of the F/V
Miss Penelope or its appurtenances.
Having decided that Maine Shipyard's maritime lien against the F/V Miss
Penelope was extinguished when that vessel was destroyed, Maine Shipyard
will be dismissed from this action. Maine Shipyard's Cross Motion for
Summary Judgment, therefore, is rendered moot and need not be
For the reasons set forth above, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
Judgment against the Intervening Plaintiff is granted. Accordingly, Maine
Shipyard's motion for summary judgment is rendered moot. The Court will
enter an appropriate order.