Understanding Asset Seizure in Maritime Arrests

Feb 21


Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Hassan Mohsen Elhais

  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Linkedin

In the intricate world of maritime law, the seizure of assets during an arrest is a critical process that can significantly impact the parties involved. This article delves into the specifics of which assets can be subject to seizure when a maritime arrest occurs, the conditions under which different vessels can be detained, and the legal proceedings that follow such an arrest.


The Scope of Asset Seizure in Maritime Arrests

When a maritime claim arises,Understanding Asset Seizure in Maritime Arrests Articles the law permits the arrest of not only the vessel directly associated with the claim but also any other vessel owned by the defendant at the time the claim is made. This broad scope of potential asset seizure is subject to certain limitations, particularly when the dispute involves issues of ownership, mortgage, possession, or profits derived from the vessel's use. In such cases, the law prohibits the further arrest of vessels.

Priority Debts and Judicial Costs

The Federal Maritime Law (FML) recognizes various debts that can confer priority rights against a vessel. These include:

  • Judicial costs incurred in the sale or protection of a vessel
  • Port dues
  • Claims for salvage, collisions, or assistance
  • Hull insurance premiums

These priority debts are critical in determining the order of payment from the proceeds of a vessel's sale.

Legal Proceedings and Sale of Vessel

The judicial sale of a vessel is a process that cannot commence until a final judgment is rendered by the court. The court order will detail the sale price and the date by which the sale must occur. It is important to note that this process involves several administrative steps, including the translation and notarization of original documents into Arabic, the official language in many maritime jurisdictions. Additionally, a power of attorney is often required, which can extend the timeline for the completion of the judicial process. At the conclusion of litigation, only nominal court and legal costs may be awarded.

Maritime Debts Under Article 115 of the FML

Article 115 of the FML outlines a comprehensive list of claims that constitute "maritime debts," which can lead to the arrest of a vessel. These include:

  1. Damage caused by a vessel due to a collision or other accident
  2. Loss of life or personal injury caused by the vessel
  3. Assistance and salvage operations
  4. Contracts related to the vessel's use or exploitation, including charter parties
  5. Contracts related to the carriage of goods, including those under a bill of lading
  6. Loss of or damage to goods or luggage transported by the vessel
  7. General average contributions
  8. Towage or pilotage services
  9. Supplies of products or equipment necessary for the vessel's use or maintenance
  10. Costs related to the vessel's building, repairing, or supplying, as well as dock dues
  11. Expenditures by the master, shippers, charterers, or agents on behalf of the vessel or its owner
  12. Wages of the master, officers, crew, and other personnel under a maritime employment contract
  13. Disputes over the vessel's ownership
  14. Disputes related to co-ownership, possession, use, or profits from the vessel
  15. Maritime mortgage disputes

Interesting Statistics and Nuances

While the specifics of maritime debts and asset seizure are well-documented in legal texts, there are some interesting statistics and nuances that are less commonly discussed. For instance, the International Maritime Bureau reported that in 2020, there were 195 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships, which can lead to complex legal disputes and potential asset seizures (International Chamber of Commerce). Additionally, the economic impact of maritime claims, including asset seizure, is significant, with the global maritime insurance industry valued at approximately $30 billion in 2020 (Statista).

Understanding the intricacies of maritime law and the conditions under which assets can be seized is crucial for stakeholders in the shipping industry. The legal framework provided by the FML and other international regulations ensures that maritime claims are processed in an orderly and fair manner, protecting the interests of all parties involved.

Article "tagged" as: