What is a Maritime Lien?

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Asked on June 2, 2021
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A maritime lien is a right against a ship and the freight she may be earning at the time which gives a claimant power to have the property arrested and, if necessary, realized so that the proceeds may be applied in satisfaction of a claim. Such a lien can be enforced, if the ship is within the jurisdiction of the courts of this country, by having her placed under arrest through the offices of the Admiralty Marshal. A maritime lien provides a most valuable method of enabling an injured party to make the ship itself available as security for his claim for the following reasons. The right exists independently of the possession of the property over which it is claimed, and it continues to attach to the property in the sense that it is unaffected by the change of ownership. The bankruptcy of the shipowner does not affect the lien on the ship itself. The holder of a maritime lien generally has a higher priority than other creditors if the ship has to be sold and the assets distributed. The lien can be enforced by the issue of a writ "in rem" at any time within two years of the lien attaching and, in certain cases, even that period may be extended by the court. A claim against a foreign ship can be enforced if such ship comes within the jurisdiction of the English courts, which is of particular value when proceedings against the owner abroad have failed to provide satisfaction.
Maritime liens are of two classes, namely (a) contractual liens, and (b) damage liens

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Posted by seawizard
Answered on June 2, 2021