A vessel is similar to any other property a person may own, such as a house or a car, albeit much larger. Similar to a house or a car, a vessel may be foreclosed upon if the owner falls behind in their payments or may be used as collateral if the owner owes an amount to a creditor. A creditor may take legal action to collect the vessel as a form of payment. If you believe that an invalid vessel arrest occurred to your ship, do not hesitate to contact an experienced maritime professional.
Vessels are subject to mortgages and liens like any other parcel of real property or other property. Most vessel owners do not pay for the full cost of the vessel outright, but sign for a specific type of vessel mortgage. Similar to a house payment, if a vessel owner falls behind on monthly payments, a bank or creditor may foreclose upon the vessel to recover the amount owed to them. However, dissimilar from a house or other large property, an action regarding a vessel lien must be brought in federal admiralty court rather than in the traditional state courts for other liens.
Vessel arrests can happen in many other situations as well, aside from failure to make consistent payments. An accident stemming from the negligence of a vessel owner may result in a large judgment against the vessel owner which can only be covered through the recovery of the vessel. Therefore, a vessel arrest will occur by court order so that the injured party can recover the cost of the vessel for the amount owed. An initial claim brought in admiralty court often puts a vessel owner on notice that a vessel may be subject to arrest and the owner may at this point provide a security deposit or may sell the vessel in order to cover the costs. The court will then hold the profits realized from the sale or deposit to cover the amounts at issue.
Vessel arrest offers a unique way for courts to ensure an amount of recovery for those injured in terrible vessel accidents. Not every vessel owner will have the capital readily available to cover traumatic injuries and the financial repercussions, although the sale of a vessel will often cover the amount of damages which exceed available insurance.
Malley Law Firm | Houston Maritime Lawyer
If you have been the victim of vessel arrest, do not hesitate to contact experienced maritime attorney Tony Malley. Vessel arrest is often the last resort creditors take when unable to get in contact with a vessel owner, and can be the action courts take to secure a payment for an injured party. Whether you are the vessel owner or the victim of a vessel accident, you are entitled to fair judgment from any court prior to a vessel arrest. Contact our Texas offices today for your initial free consultation regarding your rights as they pertain to vessel arrest.