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IONIAN SHIPPING CO. v. BRITISH LAW INS. CO.

June 10, 1970

IONIAN SHIPPING COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
BRITISH LAW INSURANCE CO. Ltd., et al., Defendants


Tenney, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: TENNEY

MEMORANDUM

TENNEY, District Judge.

 In the above-entitled action, plaintiff Ionian Shipping Company (hereinafter referred to as "Ionian"), a Liberian corporation, seeks to recover from defendant British Law Insurance Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "British Law Insurance") on an insurance policy for the loss of its vessel, the M/T "SOFIA M," a Liberian flag vessel. In April 1968, Ionian gave the Chase Manhattan Bank (National Association) a First Preferred Ship Mortgage, and in order to protect its interest the mortgagee required Ionian to obtain and keep in force marine hull insurance. In May 1968, Ionian obtained a $500,000 policy from British Law Insurance for one year, which policy contained provisions for payments to Chase and Ionian "as their respective interest may appear." On July 24, 1968, the "SOFIA M" ran around at Punta Gallinas, Colombia, and allegedly became a total loss. British Law Insurance has refused to pay the insurance proceeds, claiming that the grounding was intentional.

 At the time of the loss of the vessel, its Master was Christos Christakis. Christakis is presently a resident of New York State but is not an American citizen. He is not a party to the present action but is the plaintiff in an action against Ionian in a New York State court. On January 28, 1970, plaintiff Ionian attempted to depose Christakis, at which time he refused to answer substantially all of the questions propounded on the ground that any answer might tend to incriminate him.

 Ionian now moves, pursuant to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to compel answers to the questions with respect to which Christakis asserted his constitutional privilege.

 The questions are as follows:

 
1. How long have you resided there (15606 71st Avenue, Flushing, New York, as per response to prior question)?
 
2. Are you an American citizen?
 
3. Do you hold any maritime license?
 
4. Do you hold any Greek license?
 
5. How long were you employed at sea?
 
6. Have you ever sailed in the Greek Merchant Marine?
 
7. Have you ever served in the Greek navy?
 
8. Have you ever been employed by a company called Avon ...

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