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SFIRIDAS v. SANTA CECELIA CO.

April 27, 1973

Vasilios SFIRIDAS, by his next friend, Bert E. Zibelman
v.
SANTA CECELIA CO., S.A. and Santa Maria Ship Owning & Trading Co. (Bermuda) Ltd.


Clifford Scott Green, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN

Clifford Scott Green, District Judge.

 I.

 This is an admiralty action brought by Vasilios Sfiridas, plaintiff, against defendants to recover for injuries alleged to have been caused by the negligence of defendants and the unseaworthiness of their vessels. We do not decide, at this time, the merits of these allegations. The only issue before this Court, and the only issue we decide, is the appropriate law to be applied in this case.

 Plaintiff urges this Court to apply the admiralty law of the United States. *fn1" Defendants, however, argue that the proper law to be applied in this case is Greek law.

 For the reasons hereinafter set forth, we decide that the proper law to be applied in this case is the maritime law of Greece.

 II.

 Plaintiff and defendant, Santa Cecelia Company, entered into a contract of employment sometime prior to January 26, 1964. The contract was signed in Greece and provided that all disputes between the parties would be resolved according to Greek law.

 Plaintiff thereafter joined the crew of the Santa Cecelia Company's ship, the Santa Constance, while it was in harbor at Dublin, Ireland. On January 26, 1964, plaintiff was allegedly injured aboard the Santa Constance while it was en route from Dublin to Newport News, Virginia. At the time of plaintiff's alleged injury, the Santa Constance was on the "high seas." Plaintiff was at the time of his alleged injury and is presently a citizen of Greece.

 Upon his arrival at Newport News, plaintiff was hospitalized and treated for the injuries suffered aboard the Santa Constance.

 Plaintiff later joined the crew of the Captain Anastasis, another vessel owned and operated by Santa Cecelia, while it was in the port of Baltimore, Maryland. Plaintiff, still complaining of his injury, left the Captain Anastasis when it arrived in the port of Philadelphia. After a brief hospitalization in Philadelphia, plaintiff was released and repatriated to Greece.

 The S.S. Captain Anastasis and Santa Constance are owned and operated by and for Santa Cecelia Company. Santa Cecelia is a Panamanian corporation. It is completely owned and controlled by Greek nationals, residing in either Greece or the United Kingdom. None of the owners have had any contact with the United States, except as tourist. *fn2" There is no American ownership interest in the Santa Cecelia company. Moreover, both the Captain Anastasis and the Santa Constance are registered under Greek law and consequently fly the "Flag of Greece." Santa Cecelia's principal place of business and its business records are maintained in Greece. It has no office in this country.

 Defendant, Santa Maria Bermuda, is a Bermuda corporation with its principal place of business located in Hamilton, Bermuda. All of its stockholders, officers, or directors are British or Greek nationals, except one, P. A. Margaronis, who, at the time of plaintiff's injury was an American citizen residing in Bermuda. Santa Maria at all relevant times managed the ships, Santa Constance and Captain Anastasis, owned by Santa Cecelia Company.

 It is clear that P. A. Margaronis exercised operational control of Santa Maria Bermuda; however, it is also clear that as to Santa Cecelia and its crewmembers he had no right to hire, nor did he have the right to fire officers of her ships. We also note that all the officers ...


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