Applicability of State Attachments Law

An attachment under Admiralty and Maritime Claims has a dual purpose.  In Seawind Compania, S. A. v. Crescent Line, Inc., 320 F.2d 580 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1963), the court observed that the duel purposes of attachment are:

  • to obtain jurisdiction of the respondent in personam through his property, and
  • to assure satisfaction of any decree in libelant’s favor.

The Federal Supplemental Admiralty Rules state that in an in personam action the plaintiff may invoke state-law remedies available for seizure of person or property.[i] In Winter Storm Shipping v. TPI, 198 F. Supp. 2d 385 (S.D.N.Y. 2002), the court held that where there is little or no federal precedent, admiralty courts follow state law.  In Reibor International, Ltd. v. Cargo Carriers (KACZ-CO.), Ltd., 759 F.2d 262 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1985), the court held that the Federal Supplemental Admiralty Rules permits a plaintiff to attach an absent defendant’s property if the plaintiff has an admiralty or maritime claim in personam.

However, state law is irrelevant to the validity of process.[ii] In Maryland Tuna Corp. v. The MS Benares, 429 F.2d 307, 321 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1970), the court held that the remedy under the Federal Supplemental Admiralty Rules is completely independent of state law and of any state attachment or garnishment procedures.  Further, under maritime law, state law remains irrelevant to the validity of a maritime attachment because it is federal law that determines what attachments are valid.[iii]

[i] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R B

[ii] Winter Storm Shipping v. TPI, 198 F. Supp. 2d 385 (S.D.N.Y. 2002)

[iii] id


Inside Applicability of State Attachments Law