On Jan. 3 Guam Shipyard filed documents notifying the court that a settlement was reached in a months-long breach of contract case it brought. The parties also stipulated to continue the scheduling conference scheduled for Jan. 18 to Feb 19. Settlement negotiations are being discussed.

On Oct. 20 2006 Guam Industrial Services Inc. which does business as Guam Shipyard land represented by the law firm Carlsmith Ball LLP filed a verified complaint for maritime attachment and for breach of a maritime contract at the District court of Guam against TransAtlantic Lines Shipholdings II Inc. defendant; and M/V Bonito also known as M/V Transpacific.

In its complaint Guam Shipyard alleged that TransAtlantic Lines contracted Guam Shipyard to make repairs to M/V Baffin Strait and that between November and December 2004 it performed and completed repairs on the Baffin Strait at its facility. According to the court documents the cost for the work totaled $379 044.19 of which TransAtlantic Lines paid the shipyard $175 000 as a deposit and was duly credited. The alleged outstanding balance owed Guam Shipyard is $204 044.19.

Guam Shipyard alleged that TransAtlantic Lines failed to pay the outstanding balance in spite of repeated requests and asked the court for judgment against TransAtlantic Lines in favor of Guam Shipyard in the principal amount of $204 044.19 plus the accrued interest of $105 218 costs of suit post-judgment interest U.S. Marshal’s fees custodial fees and costs and attorneys’ fees and costs.

It also asked the court for an order providing for pre-judgment attachment of the Bonito and its engines tackle apparel furniture equipment and all other necessaries thereunto appertaining and belonging all pursuant and authorized by Federal Rule of Procedure Supplemental Admiralty Rule B and for other relief as the court deems proper.

Guam Shipyard also alleged that TransAtlantic Lines couldn’t be found within the district of Guam. No particular place of business for TransAtlantic Lines was found on Guam and it has no listing in the Guam telephone directory.

In its answer filed Nov. 13 2006 TransAtlantic Lines represented by the law firm Blair Sterling Johnson Martinez & Leon Guerrero admitted that it owned operated managed chartered or controlled the Baffin Strait; it contracted Guam Shipyard to make repairs to the vessel; and that it made a deposit of $175 000. It denied that it operates manages charters or otherwise controls the Bonito and that it failed to pay the outstanding amout in spite of repeated requests.

Blair Sterling Johnson filed a motion and memorandum of points and authorities in support of motion to dismiss. The motion stated that the Guam Shipyard "on information and belief" that the Bonito was owned by the owner of the Baffin Strait sought and obtained permission from the court to attach and seize the vessel.

On Oct. 20 the Guam Shipyard seized the Bonito. At that time it was in the Port of Guam flying Sweden’s flag and was to be re-flagged under the U.S. renamed and transferred to the ownership of TransAtlantic Lines Tankholdings Inc. The document stated that while TransAtlantic Lines Tankholdings Inc. and TransAtlantic Lines Shipholdings II Inc. were related TransAtlantic Lines Tankholdings observes all corporate formalities separate and apart from TransAtlantic Lines Shipholdings and was not the owner of the Baffin Strait.

TransAtlantic Lines Tankholdings is seeking the dismissal of the action and the return of its $320 000 in cash posted as collateral in the court register. Guam Shipyard’s opposition to the motion to dismiss was due Nov. 27 2006.

Guam Shipyard filed a motion to stay the defendant’s motion to dismiss on Nov. 22 2006 in order to have sufficient time to conduct discovery. That same day the court granted Guam Shipyard’s motion to stay so it would have time to conduct limited discovery on the matter of the ownership of the Bonito. Guam Shipyard was given until Jan. 10 to file its opposition to the motion to dismiss and TransAtlantic Lines Tankholdings had until Jan. 17 to file its reply. MBJ