Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Arrest (Maritime Law) Definition:

The detention of a vessel by order of a Court to secure a maritime claim.

Related Terms: Arrest, Arrestment

The 1999 International Convention on Arrest of Ships defines the term as:

"... any detention or restriction on removal of a ship by order of a Court to secure a maritime claim, but does not include the seizure of a ship in execution or satisfaction of a judgment or other enforceable instrument."

Canadian maritime law Elyn Underhill described the legal tool in her 2013 article in the context of Canadian maritime law:

"Arrest is the secret and distinguishing weapon of the maritime lawyer.... Arrest is an extraordinary remedy that has been available to plaintiffs in the admiralty court for hundreds of years.

"The arrest or threat of the arrest of a ship, which usually prevents the vessel from earning income, will quite often induce the ship owner to quickly settle the claim being advanced by the party doing the threatening or the arresting. Even if the claim is one that cannot be settled quickly, the arrest will give the arresting party the advantage of having security to look to satisfy the ultimate judgment....

"Once the action has been commenced, an arrest warrant for the ship or property may be obtained without court appearance on the filing of a short and simple affidavit.... The owner must post security for the plaintiff's claim if the owner wishes to have the vessel release from arrest .... If no security is posted, the vessel remain under arrest until the trial has been heard and judgment rendered."


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