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Colonial Cases

The Rose Mary, 1954


The Rose Mary

Court of Appeal of East Africa
6 December 1954
Source: The Times, 7 December, 1954

From Our Correspondent.
  The Court of Appeal of East Africa in Nairobi today dismissed the appeal against a decision of the Aden Supreme Court in January last year that 900 tons of oil carried from the Persian Gulf by the tanker Rose Mary was still the property of the Anglo-Iranian Company.
  Sir Hartley Shawcross, who was accompanied by Mr. John Megaw and the legal adviser to Anglo-Iranian, led the case for the Company. The appellants were Captain Guiseppe Iafrate, master of the Rose Mary, and the charterers, the Bubenberg Company, Switzerland. A Nairobi Indian advocate, Mr. Chanan Singh, appeared for the appellants "for the limited purpose of making application for an adjournment of the appeal." He had no instructions to go forward with the appeal, but was informed by this morning that certain negotiations for settlement had been going on. His clients asked him to apply for an adjournment in order that the negotiations be concluded.
  Sir Hartley Shawcross said that in view of the settlement in the oil dispute reached with the new Government in Persia the Anglo-Iranian Company took the view that it was no longer their policy to pursue litigation in other countries. That litigation included certain proceedings in Italy, but the present appellants were not parties to these proceedings. The company had made it plain to the appellants that nothing would be allowed to delay or affect the hearing of the appeal.  The company had actually written a letter in the most unequivocal terms.
  Mr. Chanan Singh said that if his application was refused he would withdraw, as he had no other instructions.
  Awarding costs, the president. Sir Barclay Nihill, agreed with Sir Hartley Shawcross's submission that the case was of sufficient importance to merit two counsel.

Source: The Times, 17 September, 1954

From Our Own Correspondent.
ROME, Sept. 16.
  A Rome Court today gave judgment against the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in an action which has been before the Italian courts since the first shipment of nationalised Persian oil sold to Italian firms reached Venice in February, 1953. The action was brought against the Super Old Company of Genoa, whose tanker Miriella made the first successful voyage from Abadan to Italy (an earlier attempt by the tanker Rose Mary, belonging to another company, ended when the tanker was ordered into Aden by British authorities.)
  The Anglo-Iranian company's legal representative from the outset sought to recover what they claimed to be oil stolen from its lawful British owners, and similar actions were begun against other oil companies when further tankers arrived.
  Postponements of hearings (originally at the request of the Anglo-Iranian company to enable it to prepare its case) and the natural delays of the Italian legal processes have combined to make today's decision the first in the series of actions. In its ruling the court recognized the Super Company's right of ownership on the grounds that the oil was bought legitimately by the company.  Costs were awarded against the Anglo-Iranian Company.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School