Release of Attached or Arrested Property

The rules which govern attachment and release of vessels do not contain any provision for an order that requires a charterer to furnish security to the ship owner.  A claimant can dispute the value placed on a ship and its freight by another party.  Security can act as a substitute for res.  The admiralty jurisdiction of the court can be invoked by giving the security.

But at the same time, the claimant must follow the procedures to compel the court to cause an appraisement of the vessel and freight.[i] If the claimant fails to comply, then s/he may be ordered to comply or to concede the value placed on the vessel and freight by the other party.  However, the right of a claimant to challenge the legality of the warrant of the arrest under which the vessel was seized cannot be waived by giving security.

The admiralty court will equitably treat the vessel owners who appear to contest their liability as if they were brought into court by personal process.  If the court finds that the deposit or security given by the ship owner is insufficient to satisfy the judgment awarded against the vessel, the court will award an in personam judgment against the vessel owner to that extent.

Any person claiming an interest is entitled to a prompt hearing in which the plaintiff is required to show why arrest or attachment must not be vacated or other relief granted consistent with the federal admiralty procedural rules, whenever property is arrested or attached.  In a possessory, petitory, or partition action, arrested property can be released only by order of the court and upon giving of such security as the court require.[ii]

Generally, a bond intends to secure the release of the vessel that was seized for any omission or violation of law.  Therefore, a court has no power to recall a vessel if it is once released on bond. Similarly, the vessel cannot be rearrested on the same cause of action.  However, a vessel can be rearrested if the court released the vessel by mistake.

[i] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R F

[ii] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R E


Inside Release of Attached or Arrested Property