Recognized Maritime Liens in Law
S J Tubrazy
Three types of liens are recognized in admiralty jurisprudence, maritime lien, Possessory lien and statutory lien.
Maritime lien is a substantive right, which springs into action and clings to the delinquent vessel instantaneously the moment incident of mischief is done by or for the ship. It is invisible lethal claim, which clings to the vessel like a leach and follows in the hands of bona fide purchaser for value and without notice, only exception is where change in ownership occurs on account of judicial sale, it is enforceable by action in rem against the res. The established categories of claims which give rise to maritime liens are salvage, damage done by a ship, crew and master’s wages, master’s disbursements, bottomry.
Possessory lien is right of that person to whose possession a ship or appurtenances of such snip is. Such person can retain possession thereof, until payment or discharge of some debt or obligation due to that person is affected. Such possessory lien would take priority over all claims arising after such ship had been taken into possession but would not be subordinate to those liens which had been creates earlier. Possessory lien holder has no power to realize security or
sell the ship but he can hold possession thereof, till dues are paid
Action in rem is in addition to action in personam against the delinquent vessel in respect of claims covered by clause (e) to (h) and (j) to (q) of subsection (2) of section 3 of the Admiralty Jurisdiction of High Courts Ordinance, 1980, which recognizes statutory right or lien of the plaintiff to invoke admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court by means of an action in rem in respect of a claim which conventionally is not classified as a maritime lien. Claims which can be enforced by way of a statutory lien are set out in clauses (e) to (h) and (j) to (q) to subsection (2) of section 3 of Act, 1980. Statutory liens could be invoked under section 4(4) of the Admiralty Act, 1980 by invoking action in rem against the delinquent or offending ship or her sister ship, provided the offending ship and or the sister ship at the time when incident of mischief occurs is beneficially owned by the person who is also the beneficial owner when the action in rem is invoked. The claims referred to in these subsections are claim for carriage of goods, personal injury, charter party disputes, towage, necessaries, repair, or maintenance.