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Liens & Vessel Arrest

YachtMaritime liens are unique claims wherein certain creditors can bring a lawsuit directly against a vessel for non-payment of goods or services supplied to that vessel. The lien arises the moment the goods are supplied or the work is completed. A lien becomes delinquent when the request for payment is delayed or denied.

Without the help of an experienced maritime practitioner, vendors supplying necessaries and work to a mega yacht owner often times find themselves at the mercy of the super wealthy. Countless times vendors supply services and nearing the completion of a job are told by a mega yacht owner the last several invoices, “will be discounted by a substantial percentage and given the amount previously paid you should be happy the owner paid you what he did.”

Brais Law Firm has extensive experience with enforcing and defending maritime liens brought against ships, yachts as well as smaller crafts. The firm has tried these types of claims and argued the finer points of this unique area of law to the appellate courts.

What can be a Maritime Lien?

Though not an exhaustive list, typical maritime liens arise from the failure to pay:

  • Ship’s mortgage
  • Dockage fees
  • Fuel charges
  • Mechanic’s invoices
  • Towage charges
  • Refurbishment and Painting invoices
Why Arrest a Vessel?

The strongest weapon a creditor has is the right to arrest the vessel to secure the lien. This is achieved by requesting a federal court to issue warrant of arrest and having the U.S. Marshal seize the vessel. This places the creditor at an advantage as the shipowner cannot use its vessel while under arrest. Moreover, the shipowner must deposit security for the lien into the court’s registry to release the vessel or have the vessel sold on the court house steps. The security deposited or realized as a judicial sale will stay in the court’s registry until the litigation is completed and the disbursed directly to the creditor to satisfy the claim. Such a mechanism alleviates the potential problem of collecting the judgment directly against the shipowner who is likely nothing more than an offshore shell company.

Why File a Notice of Lien Against a Vessel?

Another option a creditor has to protect its rights is by filing a notice of the lien with the U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center. Though a simple notice of lien claim will not achieve a vessel arrest or a judgment to pay the claim, a filing may violate the shipowner’s mortgage and will deter potential buyers from purchasing the vessel. This places a cloud on the vessel’s title which may cause the shipowner to pay the outstanding debt.

The attorneys at the law firm of Brais Law Firm have the experience to protect your rights, the compassion to serve your needs, and the skill to obtain the compensation you deserve. To reach our lawyers you may click email the firm, call 800-499-0551 from within the U.S., Skype BraisLaw worldwide or click Contact Us to select and complete a form for a free evaluation of your case.

Maritime Law Blog - Maritime Liens & Vessel Arrests
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After my accident I contacted them right away. I was able to see them the same day and was kept in contact throughout the process. Everyone in the office was very accommodating, polite and professional. I highly recommend Brais Law and think very highly of their lead attorneys. They helped me WIN my case, and I am forever grateful. They went above and beyond to assist me. Thank you all so very much. H.S.
The entire law firm of Brais Law were extremely helpful in handling my snorkeling accident. The firm takes customer service to a new level, not only being readily available, but courteous, respectful, sympathetic, and empathetic. The firm, especially Keith and Karla, were always quick to return calls, offer updates, and provide guidance and information. There is no comparison when it comes to firms. If you need legal advice or representation, especially concerning maritime events, contact Keith and his crew first and save yourself a lot of time and heartache! J.C.
I was looking to refer a client injured on a cruise ship and had the pleasure of speaking to Keith. Keith was extremely helpful and he took time out of his day to provide some guidance. If you're looking for a Admiralty & Maritime /Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida, I would highly recommend Brais Law Firm! T.C.