Arresting Vessels to Enforce Maritime Liens

There is nothing like the open sea. This is true in both description and legal precedents. Maritime law often involves legislation that looks strange in comparison to similar laws not centered on a vessel at sea. In particular, if someone is hurt on a vessel, the entire vessel becomes liable for any damages, even if it is sold off to another person. Imagine buying a used car and finding out you’re suddenly responsible for an accident its driver caused two years ago. What is even more peculiar is that the vessel itself can actually be arrested.

If the arrest is permitted and executed successfully, the United States Marshalls will take the vessel into physical custody, usually towing it to some government controlled harbor nearby. If the vessel’s owner is unable to compensate the plaintiff after being ordered to do so, the court can actually sell off the vessel and use any proceeds to compensate them instead. In this way, it is akin to repossessing a vehicle.

It should be noted that arresting a vessel is not free. You must pay funds upfront for the U.S. Marshalls to consider the arrest – usually larger ships require larger fees; although, you may be able to win back these arrest fees if you win the case. Additionally, arresting a vehicle takes your case before a federal judge for ruling and bars you from seeking judgement before a jury court. If you do not think a judge will see things your way but a jury will, arresting the vessel is unlikely the right choice for you. Due to these exceptional circumstances, you should always check with your lawyer before deciding to arrest a vessel or not.

At Cassidy & Black, P.A., our Miami maritime law attorneys can evaluate your case for free and determine what you should do next. Maritime cases often do not end in the plaintiff’s favor simply due to the complexities of maritime law, so you need to be sure you have serious legal advocacy in your corner. We are proud to say that we have recently been acclaimed by a past client – name redacted for privacy purposes – who had this to say about us:

“I cannot tell you how impressed I am with the results that you obtained for my client […]. I refer a lot of cases out to different attorneys and this is the first time that I have ever seen results this quick and that were as successful and complete as this case. You did one hell of a good job. […] is extremely pleased and I am thankful that […] recommended you to me.”

Call (305) 964-8792 today for more information.