Spain is part to the International Convention on Arrest of Ships 1999. Although this Convention increases the number of maritime claims which might lead to a vessel’s arrest, on the other hand, it narrows down the ships that can be detained. In broad terms, ship arrest is feasible only against those vessels owned by the debtor or, when the maritime claim alleged is considered a maritime lien as per Geneva Convention 1993.
In practice, in Spain it is not always easy to apply for this effective measure.
The alternative when the debtor is either the operator or the time charterer of a vessel and our credit is not a maritime lien, is the seizure of the bunkers on board (on the assumption the debtor is the owner).
The procedure is not as simple as with the ship arrest, but the effectiveness is quite the same.
Main points to be considered would be:
- The application should be filed few days in advance to vessel’s call, so the Court has time to go through the application and give consideration to it.
- Fairness of the claim should be preliminary evidenced as well as the impossibility to collect the amount due by other means (no vessels under debtor’s ownership, company domiciled in a tax haven, no other assets seizable…etc.).
- A counter security would be requested by the Court to enforce the arrest (around 15% of the amount claimed).
If the arrest is granted and enforced, in normal circumstances, the debtor honors the amount due. In the negative, the applicant has to discharge the bunkers from the vessel and deposit them ashore at his own risk and expense. Such costs can be claimed to the debtor afterwards.
Muñoz & Montañés has recently succeeded in a bunker’s arrest application, achieving client’s goal: collecting an outstanding debt of more than Eur 200 K.
For any question or doubt on anything related to the above mentioned, please feel free to contact us on +34 963673812 or email@example.com.