Claims under a maritime contract for wharfage give rise to a maritime lien. An in rem remedy may be pleaded along with, or in the alternative to, an in personam claim. The advantage of combining in rem and in personam actions is that a deficiency judgment may be entered against in personam defendants for the excess of the amount of damages over the fair market value of the vessel or other maritime property involved.” The first step in an action in rem is the filing of a verified complaint that describes the boat and alleges that a maritime lien exists[i].
In actions in rem the complaint shall be verified on oath or solemn affirmation. It shall describe with reasonable particularity the property that is the subject of the action and state that it is within the district or will be during the pendency of the action. In actions for the enforcement of forfeitures for violation of any statute of the United States, the complaint shall state the place of seizure and whether it was on land or on navigable waters. It shall contain such allegations as may be required by the statute pursuant to which the action is brought[ii].
[i] Goodman v. 1973 26 Foot Trojan Vessel, 859 F.2d 71, 74 (8th Cir. Ark. 1988)
[ii] United States v. One Assortment of Eighty-Nine Firearms & Six Hundred & Thirty-Eight Rounds of Ammunition, 846 F.2d 24 (6th Cir. Tenn. 1988)