What is a maritime lien

Under admiralty law a maritime lien is the term given to a ‘privileged claim’ on maritime related property. The maritime property ranges in category from a vessel, to the vessel equipment and cargo. Typically a maritime lien is brought to court where there have been injuries or damage caused by the property by which the claim is put upon. To better understand the scope of a maritime lien claim it is advised that you seek consultancy with a professional consultancy firm.

Maritime lien explained

Under maritime lien claims, it is provided by the applicable court that the vessel or other maritime property that caused the damage or harm, is responsible for loss caused to the third party, and the owner of the vessel of property that caused the damage will not be held personally liable

There are many forms of maritime lien claims, which although vary between jurisdictions, remain common form under Admiralty Law. The most typical types of maritime lien are as follows:

  • Salvage operations
  • Claims for breach of contract by a charter party
  • Ship mortgages
  • Wages (ship crew including master)
  • Claims by cargo carriers for unpaid freight
  • Pollution claims
  • Claims regarding maritime contracts for towage, repairs and supplies
  • Claims for general average

There is more than one form of maritime lien depending on the claiming party, for example a ship owners lien is known as a possessory lien. In addition, maritime lien claims and admiralty law provisions will vary according to the jurisdiction employing the law and so it is essential that all maritime operators are fully aware of their rights, obligations and compliance requirements.