HomeCircuit Court Admiralty CasesMaritime Liens
Maritime Liens

The following are digests and case links to Circuit Court Admiralty Cases that have as an issue maritime liens:

Gowen v. F/V Quality One
First Circuit Court of Appeals
March 30, 2001

Maritime Liens: A fishing vessel's fishing permits, which allowed restricted use of the vessel for the fishing of specific species, were "appurtenances" of the vessel for purposes of the Federal Maritime Lien Act, 46 U.S.C. §§ 3141-43, thus they were properly sold along with the vessel subsequent to her arrest to pay wharfage and repair costs.

United States v. Ex USS Cabot/Dedalo
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
July 1, 2002

Salvage/Maritime Liens: A successful salvage claim requires three proofs: (1) marine peril; (2) voluntary service rendered when not required as an existing duty or from a special contract; and (3) success in whole or in part, or contribution to the success of the operation. Since the Coast Guard proved tug assistance to the vessel pursuant to its mandatory obligations under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, it was not acting voluntarily and hence had no valid salvage claim or salvage lien against the vessel. 

Bank One Louisiana v. M/V Mr Dean
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
June 10, 2002

Maritime Liens/Charter Parties: A maritime lien for breach of a charter attaches when the owner places the vessel at the charterer's disposal and remains inchoate until perfected by a breach or discharged by the undisturbed end of the charter.  Thus the charterer's maritime lien for breach of the charter had priority over the bank's preferred ship mortgage since the the vessel was placed at the charterer's disposal before the mortgage was recorded, although the owner's breach of the charter occurred after the mortgage was recorded.

Gulf Marine v. M/V Golden Prince
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
October 24, 2000

Maritime Liens: Legal services are not "necessaries" under the Federal Maritime Lien Act, thus a law firm has no maritime lien against the sale proceeds of a vessel for which it performed legal services.

Racal Survey v. M/V Count Fleet
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
October 24, 2000

Maritime Liens: Since the plaintiff supplier of seismic equipment looked solely to a party other than the vessel for payment, it had no maritime lien against the vessel for equipment supplied to the vessel's time charterer. A supplier of necessaries must also provide those goods or services to a vessel to receive a maritime lien, thus supplying the equipment directly to the time charterer, and not the vessel, provided an alternate basis for denying plaintiff's maritime lien claim. With respect to the vessel owner's separate lien claim for non-payment of charter hire, which was brought against equipment of the time charterer aboard the vessel, the court upheld the district court's decision denying such a claim since a vessel owner may only assert such a lien against cargo.

Bank of Scotland v. Hector Sabay
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
April 28, 2000

Maritime Liens: A seaman's preferred maritime lien for penalty wages is not enforceable against the proceeds of a vessel sale when those proceeds are less than the preferred mortgage debt.

Ventura Packers v. F/V Jeanine Kathleen
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
September 11, 2002

Maritime Liens/Admiralty Jurisdiction: The Federal Maritime Lien Act, 46 U.S.C. § 31342, establishes statutory elements, which if met, invoke the admiralty jurisdiction of the federal courts. The district court therefore erred in dismissing plaintiff's necessaries lien claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, which dismissal was based on a finding that the contract between plaintiff and the vessel interests was not wholly maritime and that its maritime portion could not be severed from its non-maritime portion without prejudice to the vessels. Although this finding was correct, the Federal Maritime Lien Act provides an independent basis for subject matter jurisdiction where the plaintiff, as here, has provided necessaries to a vessel.

In re Container Applications Intl.
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
November 22, 2000

Maritime Liens: Cargo containers leased in bulk to the owner of a group of vessels for unrestricted use on board the vessels in that group, are not "provided" to any particular vessel within the meaning of 46 U.S.C. § 31342(a), thus liens cannot be claimed for containers furnished in bulk to a fleet owner who then decides upon which vessels the containers will be placed.

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