Seafarers' Rights International - Image © P. Terraz

The maritime lien for claims by seafarers is designed to improve the prospects of the claims being paid. To enforce a maritime lien, the ship must be arrested. There are many considerations for a seafarer contemplating arrest of his ship including:

  • Is it necessary to instruct a lawyer to arrest the ship? If yes, is any form of government legal assistance/aid available for the (foreign) seafarers?
  • Is it necessary to place a financial bond in court before an arrest of ship can take place?
  • Has the market value of the ship anything to do with a ship’s arrest and auction?
  • On average how long does it take before the arrest order is granted by the court?
  • Will the authorities of the arrest port demand appointment of any watchman to safeguard the ship?
  • If the seafarer claimant remains on board, who will look after the seafarer during the arrest, including food and provisions?
  • If the seafarer claimant remains on board, will he be paid wages whilst waiting for the ship to be sold?
  • On average how long does it take before an arrested ship is sold?
  • Can a seafarer claimant be repatriated before the legal claim is completed?
  • Will the cost of repatriation be included in the legal claim?
  • What claims will have priority against the sale proceeds ahead of the seafarers’ unpaid wages?
  • Are there any other useful procedures for a seafarer claimant?


It will always be important to take local advice on all matters relating to arrest of a ship.