Maritime Lien

A maritime lien is a very important aspect of maritime lien. The fundamental difference between a maritime lien and the normally applicable lien is that in the case of the former, the liability of the contract falls on the ship and the other particulars (equipment and parts) of the ship rather than the ship’s owner, as it is the case of the latter where the person responsible is liable to pay the lien. Briefly put, a maritime lien assumes that the guilty party in case of a maritime problem is the ship by itself, rather than the shipowner.

While this may seem to be a novel and confounding concept, it is integral to maritime regulations that enable investigators to establish a paper trail in case of litigation.

What are the features of Maritime Lien?

A maritime lien is a very important aspect of maritime law. The fundamental difference between a maritime lien and the normally applicable lien is that in the case of the former, the liability of the contract falls on the ship and the other particulars (equipment and parts) of the ship rather than the ship’s owner, as it is the case of the latter where the person responsible is liable to pay the lien. Briefly put, a maritime lien assumes that the guilty party in case of a maritime problem is the ship by itself, rather than the shipowner. While this may seem to be a novel and confounding concept, it is integral to maritime regulations that enable investigators to establish a paper trail in case of litigation. Although the ship is considered to be guilty in case of an accident, it is the owner who must represent the vessel in all legal proceedings. Thus, he/she must repatriate, re-compensate, or suitably comply with the regulations of the admiralty court “on behalf” of the vessel.Such a legal clause that considers inanimate objects for lien is known as a “proprietary instrument”.

It has 2 main components:

  1. Jus in re – Right on the property
  2. Jus in rem – Right against the property

A maritime lien can be terminated if the vessel is destroyed. However, if the ship has been demolished partially then the lien will be still applicable. Another way of terminating the lien against the person who holds the lien papers is if the marine admiralty finds that the enforcing of the lien has not been done on timeThe lateness in the enforcing of the maritime lien by the lien holder to judge whether the lien needs to be terminated or not, is decided on the basis of the causes and factors of the delay. There is a specified time period provided by which the lienholder has to file the claim for the lien .The ship’s parts that come under the purview of maritime lien are the hull, engines, lighters, scows and tackles. The amount raised by the sale of these equipment is used to settle the maritime lien to the lienholder.

Reference:

  1. http://www.mondaq.com
  2. http://www.marineinsight.com

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