Maritime Liens & Vessel Arrests

Maritime 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.

Keith S. Brais

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
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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 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.

Who Will be Handling my Case?

Your case will be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to get the results you deserve. The practitioners at our firm have over 70 years of collective trial experience. Our credentials and qualifications are extensive, including an “AV” Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. More importantly, we have a first-hand understanding of how insurance carriers operate because we represented clients insured with major insurance companies for nearly 20 years before we made a choice to change sides so that we could help the people who need us most – individuals just like you. Learn more.

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Cruise Ship Crew Member Injury

"I was in pain for a good 6 months, it was just a nightmare. It wasn't until I got Mr. Brais that I really started getting the help I needed from the doctors. You need somebody you can trust, somebody to give you some guidance. They stuck in there with me the whole way."

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"I highly recommend Brais Law Firm. Their professionalism and expertise were top notch. My slip and fall injury case involved a well known cruise ship and was nerve racking to me. They calmed all my fears and walked me through step by step. In the end they helped me obtain a favorable recovery. Look no further, call them with your Maritime case!!!"

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"I just thought he [Mr. Brais] was the man to do it. I felt comfortable with him being by my side. The pain my family has suffered has been immeasurable, but he was there with me. It’s not just him, it’s his team also. Keith really stood up for my son. I know I made the best choice."

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"I was in an accident where I was struck by a boat and boat propeller. The Brais Law Firm represented me in a very professional manner. I am very satisfied with the service and support I received from the firm and happy with the results they achieved. I recommend Keith Brais and his firm to anyone needing representation related to a maritime personal injury."

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