Duration of Arrest Warrant’s Effect

An action in rem can be brought in whenever a statute of the U.S. provides for a maritime action in rem or a similar proceeding and also to enforce any maritime lien.  Statutory provisions that exempt vessels or other property owned or possessed by or for the U.S. from arrest or seizure are not affected by certain rules.[i]

The court can issue a warrant for the arrest of the vessel or other property, if the conditions for an in rem action appear to exist.[ii] If the plaintiff or his/her attorney certifies that some difficult situations make court review impracticable, then the court clerk must issue a summons and a warrant for the arrest of the vessel or other property that is the subject of the action.[iii] The plaintiff has the burden in any post arrest hearing to show that some exigent circumstances existed.

If the property is a vessel or tangible property on board a vessel, the warrant and any supplemental process is delivered to the marshal for service.  If the property is something other than a vessel, then the warrant and any supplemental process is delivered to a person or organization authorized to enforce it.[iv]

If a property is the subject of the action that consists in whole or in part of freight or other intangible property, then the court clerk will issue a summons in addition to the warrant directing any person having control over the property to show cause why the amount should not be deposited in court to abide the judgment.[v]

An unsupported allegation that a vessel will be present in a federal district is insufficient to warrant the retention of jurisdiction.[vi]

[i] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R C

[ii] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R C(3)(a)

[iii] Id

[iv] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R C(3)(b)

[v] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R C(3)(c)

[vi] Lana Mora, Inc. v. S.S. Woermann Ulanga, 672 F. Supp. 125 (S.D.N.Y. 1987)


Inside Duration of Arrest Warrant’s Effect