Convention on Arrest of Ships, 1999
PARTIES TO THIS CONVENTION,
desirability of facilitating the harmonious and orderly development of
world seaborne trade,
the necessity for a legal instrument establishing international uniformity
in the field of arrest of ships which takes account of recent developments
in related fields,
HAVE AGREED as
For the purposes
of this Convention:
Claim" means a claim arising out of one or more of the following:
damage caused by the operation of the ship;
life or personal injury occurring, whether on land or on water, in
direct connection with the operation of the ship;
operations or any salvage agreement, including, if applicable,
special compensation relating to salvage operations in respect of
a ship which by itself or its cargo threatened damage to the
threat of damage caused by the ship to the environment, coastline
or related interests; measures taken to prevent, minimize, or
remove such damage; compensation for such damage; costs of
reasonable measures of reinstatement of the environment actually
undertaken or to be undertaken; loss incurred or likely to be
incurred by third parties in connection with such damage; and
damage, costs, or loss of a similar nature to those identified in
this subparagraph (d);
expenses relating to the raising, removal, recovery, destruction
or the rendering harmless of a ship which is sunk, wrecked,
stranded or abandoned, including anything that is or has been on
board such ship, and costs or expenses relating to the
preservation of an abandoned ship and maintenance of its crew;
agreement relating to the use or hire of the ship, whether
contained in a charter party or otherwise;
agreement relating to the carriage of goods or passengers on board
the ship, whether contained in a charter party or otherwise;
or damage to or in connection with goods (including luggage)
carried on board the ship;
materials, provisions, bunkers, equipment (including containers)
supplied or services rendered to the ship for its operation,
management, preservation or maintenance;
reconstruction, repair, converting or equipping of the ship;
canal, dock, harbour and other waterway dues and charges;
other sums due to the master, officers and other members of the
ship's complement in respect of their employment on the ship,
including costs of repatriation and social insurance contributions
payable on their behalf;
incurred on behalf of the ship or its owners;
premiums (including mutual insurance calls) in respect of the
ship, payable by or on behalf of the shipowner or demise
commissions, brokerages or agency fees payable in respect of the
ship by or on behalf of the shipowner or demise charterer;
dispute as to ownership or possession of the ship;
dispute between co-owners of the ship as to the employment or
earnings of the ship;
mortgage or a "hypothèque" or a charge of the same
nature on the ship;
dispute arising out of a contract for the sale of the ship.
means any detention or restriction on removal of a ship by order of a
Court to secure a maritime claim, but does not include the seizure of
a ship in execution or satisfaction of a judgment or other enforceable
means any individual or partnership or any public or private body,
whether corporate or not, including a State or any of its constituent
means any person asserting a maritime claim.
means any competent judicial authority of a State.
Powers of arrest
A ship may be
arrested or released from arrest only under the authority of a Court
of the State Party in which the arrest is effected.
A ship may
only be arrested in respect of a maritime claim but in respect of no
A ship may be
arrested for the purpose of obtaining security notwithstanding that,
by virtue of a jurisdiction clause or arbitration clause in any
relevant contract, or otherwise, the maritime claim in respect of
which the arrest is effected is to be adjudicated in a State other
than the State where the arrest is effected, or is to be arbitrated,
or is to be adjudicated subject to the law of another State.
the provisions of this Convention, the procedure relating to the
arrest of a ship or its release shall be governed by the law of the
State in which the arrest was effected or applied for.
Exercise of right of arrest
permissible of any ship in respect of which a maritime claim is
person who owned the ship at the time when the maritime claim
arose is liable for the claim and is owner of the ship when the
arrest is effected; or
demise charterer of the ship at the time when the maritime claim
arose is liable for the claim and is demise charterer or owner of
the ship when the arrest is effected; or
is based upon a mortgage or a "hypothèque" or a charge
of the same nature on the ship; or
relates to the ownership or possession of the ship; or
is against the owner, demise charterer, manager or operator of the
ship and is secured by a maritime lien which is granted or arises
under the law of the State where the arrest is applied for.
also permissible of any other ship or ships which, when the arrest is
effected, is or are owned by the person who is liable for the maritime
claim and who was, when the claim arose:
the ship in respect of which the maritime claim arose; or
charterer, time charterer or voyage charterer of that ship.
does not apply to claims in respect of ownership or possession of a
the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this article, the arrest of a
ship which is not owned by the person liable for the claim shall be
permissible only if, under the law of the State where the arrest is
applied for, a judgment in respect of that claim can be enforced
against that ship by judicial or forced sale of that ship.
Release from arrest
A ship which
has been arrested shall be released when sufficient security has been
provided in a satisfactory form, save in cases in which a ship has
been arrested in respect of any of the maritime claims enumerated in
article 1, paragraphs 1 (s) and (t). In such cases, the Court may
permit the person in possession of the ship to continue trading the
ship, upon such person providing sufficient security, or may otherwise
deal with the operation of the ship during the period of the arrest.
absence of agreement between the parties as to the sufficiency and
form of the security, the Court shall determine its nature and the
amount thereof, not exceeding the value of the arrested ship.
for the ship to be released upon security being provided shall not be
construed as an acknowledgement of liability nor as a waiver of any
defence or any right to limit liability.
If a ship has
been arrested in a non-party State and is not released although
security in respect of that ship has been provided in a State Party in
respect of the same claim, that security shall be ordered to be
released on application to the Court in the State Party.
If in a
non-party State the ship is released upon satisfactory security in
respect of that ship being provided, any security provided in a State
Party in respect of the same claim shall be ordered to be released to
the extent that the total amount of security provided in the two
for which the ship has been arrested, or
of the ship,
the lower. Such release shall, however, not be ordered unless the
security provided in the non-party State will actually be available to
the claimant and will be freely transferable.
pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article, security has been provided,
the person providing such security may at any time apply to the Court
to have that security reduced, modified, or cancelled.
Right of rearrest and multiple arrest
Where in any
State a ship has already been arrested and released or security in
respect of that ship has already been provided to secure a maritime
claim, that ship shall not thereafter be rearrested or arrested in
respect of the same maritime claim unless:
nature or amount of the security in respect of that ship already
provided in respect of the same claim is inadequate, on condition
that the aggregate amount of security may not exceed the value of
the ship; or
person who has already provided the security is not, or is
unlikely to be, able to fulfil some or all of that person’s
arrested or the security previously provided was released either:
the application or with the consent of the claimant acting on
reasonable grounds, or
the claimant could not by taking reasonable steps prevent the
ship which would otherwise be subject to arrest in respect of the same
maritime claim shall not be arrested unless:
nature or amount of the security already provided in respect of
the same claim is inadequate; or
provisions of paragraph 1 (b) or (c) of this article are
for the purpose of this article shall not include any unlawful release
or escape from arrest.
Protection of owners and demise charterers of arrested ships
The Court may
as a condition of the arrest of a ship, or of permitting an arrest
already effected to be maintained, impose upon the claimant who seeks
to arrest or who has procured the arrest of the ship the obligation to
provide security of a kind and for an amount, and upon such terms, as
may be determined by that Court for any loss which may be incurred by
the defendant as a result of the arrest, and for which the claimant
may be found liable, including but not restricted to such loss or
damage as may be incurred by that defendant in consequence of:
arrest having been wrongful or unjustified; or
security having been demanded and provided.
The Courts of
the State in which an arrest has been effected shall have jurisdiction
to determine the extent of the liability, if any, of the claimant for
loss or damage caused by the arrest of a ship, including but not
restricted to such loss or damage as may be caused in consequence of:
arrest having been wrongful or unjustified, or
security having been demanded and provided.
liability, if any, of the claimant in accordance with paragraph 2 of
this article shall be determined by application of the law of the
State where the arrest was effected.
If a Court in
another State or an arbitral tribunal is to determine the merits of
the case in accordance with the provisions of article 7, then
proceedings relating to the liability of the claimant in accordance
with paragraph 2 of this article may be stayed pending that decision.
pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article security has been provided,
the person providing such security may at any time apply to the Court
to have that security reduced, modified or cancelled.
Jurisdiction on the merits of the case
The Courts of
the State in which an arrest has been effected or security provided to
obtain the release of the ship shall have jurisdiction to determine
the case upon its merits, unless the parties validly agree or have
validly agreed to submit the dispute to a Court of another State which
accepts jurisdiction, or to arbitration.
the provisions of paragraph 1 of this article, the Courts of the State
in which an arrest has been effected, or security provided to obtain
the release of the ship, may refuse to exercise that jurisdiction
where that refusal is permitted by the law of that State and a Court
of another State accepts jurisdiction.
where a Court of the State where an arrest has been effected or
security provided to obtain the release of the ship:
have jurisdiction to determine the case upon its merits; or
refused to exercise jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions
of paragraph 2 of this article,
such Court may,
and upon request shall, order a period of time within which the claimant
shall bring proceedings before a competent Court or arbitral tribunal.
proceedings are not brought within the period of time ordered in
accordance with paragraph 3 of this article then the ship arrested or
the security provided shall, upon request, be ordered to be released.
proceedings are brought within the period of time ordered in
accordance with paragraph 3 of this article, or if proceedings before
a competent Court or arbitral tribunal in another State are brought in
the absence of such order, any final decision resulting therefrom
shall be recognized and given effect with respect to the arrested ship
or to the security provided in order to obtain its release, on
defendant has been given reasonable notice of such proceedings and
a reasonable opportunity to present the case for the defence; and
recognition is not against public policy (ordre public)
contained in the provisions of paragraph 5 of this article shall
restrict any further effect given to a foreign judgment or arbitral
award under the law of the State where the arrest of the ship was
effected or security provided to obtain its release.
Convention shall apply to any ship within the jurisdiction of any
State Party, whether or not that ship is flying the flag of a State
Convention shall not apply to any warship, naval auxiliary or other
ships owned or operated by a State and used, for the time being, only
on government non-commercial service.
Convention does not affect any rights or powers vested in any
Government or its departments, or in any public authority, or in any
dock or harbour authority, under any international convention or under
any domestic law or regulation, to detain or otherwise prevent from
sailing any ship within their jurisdiction.
Convention shall not affect the power of any State or Court to make
orders affecting the totality of a debtor's assets.
this Convention shall affect the application of international
conventions providing for limitation of liability, or domestic law
giving effect thereto, in the State where an arrest is effected.
this Convention shall modify or affect the rules of law in force in
the States Parties relating to the arrest of any ship physically
within the jurisdiction of the State of its flag procured by a person
whose habitual residence or principal place of business is in that
State, or by any other person who has acquired a claim from such
person by subrogation, assignment or otherwise.
Non-creation of maritime liens
Nothing in this
Convention shall be construed as creating a maritime lien.
may, at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance, approval, or
accession, or at any time thereafter, reserve the right to exclude the
application of this Convention to any or all of the following :
which are not seagoing;
flying the flag of a State Party;
under article 1, paragraph 1 (s).
A State may,
when it is also a State Party to a specified treaty on navigation on
inland waterways, declare when signing, ratifying, accepting,
approving or acceding to this Convention, that rules on jurisdiction,
recognition and execution of court decisions provided for in such
treaties shall prevail over the rules contained in article 7 of this
shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Signature, ratification, acceptance, approval and accession
Convention shall be open for signature by any State at the
Headquarters of the United Nations, New York, from 1 September 1999 to
31 August 2000 and shall thereafter remain open for accession.
express their consent to be bound by this Convention by:
without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval; or
subject to ratification, acceptance or approval, followed by
ratification, acceptance or approval; or
acceptance, approval or accession shall be effected by the deposit of
an instrument to that effect with the depositary.
States with more than one system of law
If a State
has two or more territorial units in which different systems of law
are applicable in relation to matters dealt with in this Convention,
it may at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance, approval or
accession declare that this Convention shall extend to all its
territorial units or only to one or more of them and may modify this
declaration by submitting another declaration at any time.
declaration shall be notified to the depositary and shall state
expressly the territorial units to which the Convention applies.
to a State Party which has two or more systems of law with regard to
arrest of ships applicable in different territorial units, references
in this Convention to the Court of a State and the law of a State
shall be respectively construed as referring to the Court of the
relevant territorial unit within that State and the law of the
relevant territorial unit of that State.
Entry into force
Convention shall enter into force six months following the date on
which 10 States have expressed their consent to be bound by it.
For a State
which expresses its consent to be bound by this Convention after the
conditions for entry into force thereof have been met, such consent
shall take effect three months after the date of expression of such
Revision and amendment
of States Parties for the purpose of revising or amending this
Convention shall be convened by the Secretary-General of the United
Nations at the request of one-third of the States Parties.
to be bound by this Convention, expressed after the date of entry into
force of an amendment to this Convention, shall be deemed to apply to
the Convention, as amended.
Convention may be denounced by any State Party at any time after the
date on which this Convention enters into force for that State.
shall be effected by deposit of an instrument of denunciation with the
denunciation shall take effect one year, or such longer period as may
be specified in the instrument of denunciation, after the receipt of
the instrument of denunciation by the depositary.
is established in a single original in the Arabic, Chinese, English,
French, Russian and Spanish languages, each text being equally authentic.
DONE AT Geneva
this twelfth day of March, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine.
WHEREOF the undersigned being duly authorized by their respective
Governments for that purpose have signed this Convention.