Vessel arrests are often considered as part of a process in which a particular Admiralty Court achieves jurisdiction over a certain subject matter, especially regarding law suits. These types of lawsuits are often called “in rem” which means that the specific action impacts a thing, instead of a person.
In general, the vessel, in itself, is the one that is responsible for paying the mortgages, liens as well as other potential maritime lien, which may arise. As the owner works on a vessel using a first preferred ship’s mortgage, the ship is the one, which guarantees the payment instead of the owner. On the other hand, the owner also has the choice to engage in a separate contract with a promise to pay, as well as with the use of other guarantee types in order to be liable personally.
Other Features of Vessel arrests
Vessel arrests are required as prerequisite in order for a court to establish the necessary jurisdiction. In line with this, if it is impossible for a vessel to be seized, then the court may end up having no right on the vessel. Therefore, vessel arrests may also refer to the actual process in which a marshal from the country being represented goes on board the vessel, and taking charge of it physically.
In order to perform vessel arrests, it is important that the arrest notice should be posted right on the vessel. At the same time, a copy should be provided to the person, or master in charge, and, of course, the owner. Also, such notice should also be published in a specific newspaper, especially one that has been assigned to publish similar legal notices. The actual notice for the vessel arrests should be provided to all of the other holders of lien who are claiming interest on the vessel.
Upon seizure, the court can keep the vessel in possession, through the service of the marshal or a substitute custodian. In order to avoid this kind of situation, as well as the possible effect towards commerce, most often, the court can allow the owner to possibly post a bond, as well as other related form of security. After accepting such security, the vessel may now be returned towards the owner, continuing the litigation along with the security, acting as the subject for the judgment execution. After the marshal completes the vessel arrests, he is now obligated to keep and preserve, not just the vessel, but also all of its equipment. At this point, the seized vessel’s custodian need not interfere with the operation unless it has been directed under court order. At the same time, unless the plaintiff and claimant work in acting in bad faith, the vessel owner may no longer be able to recover any damage as a result of the arrest or loss of profits.