on the Arrest of Ships
(Geneva, March 12, 1999)
The States Parties to this Convention, Recognizing
the desirability of facilitating the harmonious and orderly development
of world seaborne trade, Convinced of the necessity for a legal instrument
establishing international uniformity in the field of arrest of ships which
takes account of recent developments in related fields,
Have agreed as follows:
For the purposes of this Convention:
1. "Maritime Claim" means a claim arising
out of one or more of the following:
(a) loss or damage caused by the operation
of the ship;
(b) loss of life or personal injury occurring,
whether on land or on water, in direct connection with the operation of
(c) salvage operations or any salvage agreement,
including, if applicable, special compensation relating to salvage operations
in respect of a ship which by itself or its cargo threatened damage to
(d) damage or threat of damage caused by the
ship to the environment, coastline or related interests; measures taken
to prevent, minimize, or remove such damage; compensation for such damage;
costs of reasonable measures of reinstatement of the environment actually
undertaken or to be undertaken; loss incurred or likely to be incurred
by third parties in connection with such damage; and damage, costs, or
loss of a similar nature to those identified in this subparagraph (d);
(e) costs or expenses relating to the raising,
removal, recovery, destruction or the rendering harmless of a ship which
is sunk, wrecked, stranded or abandoned, including anything that is or
has been on board such ship, and costs or expenses relating to the preservation
of an abandoned ship and maintenance of its crew;
(f) any agreement relating to the use or hire
of the ship, whether contained in a charter party or otherwise;
(g) any agreement relating to the carriage
of goods or passengers on board the ship, whether contained in a charter
party or otherwise;
(h) loss of or damage to or in connection
with goods (including luggage) carried on board the ship;
(i) general average;
(l) goods, materials, provisions, bunkers,
equipment (including containers) supplied or services rendered to the ship
for its operation, management, preservation or maintenance;
(m) construction, reconstruction, repair,
converting or equipping of the ship;
(n) port, canal, dock, harbour and other waterway
dues and charges;
(o) wages and other sums due to the master,
officers and other members of the ship's complement in respect of their
employment on the ship, including costs of repatriation and social insurance
contributions payable on their behalf;
(p) disbursements incurred on behalf of the
ship or its owners;
(q) insurance premiums (including mutual insurance
calls) in respect of the ship, payable by or on behalf of the shipowner
or demise charterer;
(r) any commissions, brokerages or agency
fees payable in respect of the ship by or on behalf of the shipowner or
(s) any dispute as to ownership or possession
of the ship;
(t) any dispute between co-owners of the ship
as to the employment or earnings of the ship;
(u) a mortgage or a "hypothèque" or
a charge of the same nature on the ship;
(v) any dispute arising out of a contract
for the sale of the ship.
2. "Arrest" means any detention or restriction
on removal of a ship by order of a Court to secure a maritime claim, but
does not include the seizure of a ship
in execution or satisfaction of a judgment
or other enforceable instrument.
3. "Person" means any individual or partnership
or any public or private body, whether corporate or not, including a State
or any of its constituent subdivisions.
4. "Claimant" means any person asserting a
5. "Court" means any competent judicial authority
of a State.
Powers of arrest
1. A ship may be arrested or released from
arrest only under the authority of a Court of the State Party in which
the arrest is effected.
2. A ship may only be arrested in respect
of a maritime claim but in respect of no other claim.
3. A ship may be arrested for the purpose
of obtaining security notwithstanding that, by virtue of a jurisdiction
clause or arbitration clause in any relevant contract, or otherwise, the
maritime claim in respect of which the arrest is effected is to be adjudicated
in a State other than the State where the arrest is effected, or is to
be arbitrated, or is to be adjudicated subject to the law of another State.
4. Subject to the provisions of this Convention,
the procedure relating to the arrest of a ship or its release shall be
governed by the law of the State in which the arrest was effected or applied
Exercise of right of arrest
1. Arrest is permissible of any ship in respect
of which a maritime claim is asserted if:
(a) the person who owned the ship at the time
when the maritime claim arose is liable for the claim and is owner of the
ship when the arrest is effected; or
(b) the demise charterer of the ship at the
time when the maritime claim arose is liable for the claim and is demise
charterer or owner of the ship when the arrest is effected; or
(c) the claim is based upon a mortgage or
a "hypothèque" or a charge of the same nature on the ship; or
(d) the claim relates to the ownership or
possession of the ship; or
(e) the claim is against the owner, demise
charterer, manager or operator of the ship and is secured by a maritime
lien which is granted or arises under the law of the State where the arrest
is applied for.
2. Arrest is also permissible of any other
ship or ships which, when the arrest is effected, is or are owned by the
person who is liable for the maritime
claim and who was, when the claim arose:
(a) owner of the ship in respect of which
the maritime claim arose; or
(b) demise charterer, time charterer or voyage
charterer of that ship.
This provision does not apply to claims in
respect of ownership or possession of a ship.
3. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs
1 and 2 of this article, the arrest of a ship which is not owned by the
person liable for the claim shall be permissible only if, under the law
of the State where the arrest is applied for, a judgment in respect of
that claim can be enforced against that ship by judicial
or forced sale of that ship.
Release from arrest
1. A ship which has been arrested shall be
released when sufficient security has been provided in a satisfactory form,
save in cases in which a ship has been arrested in respect of any of the
maritime claims enumerated in article 1, paragraphs 1 (s) and (t). In such
cases, the Court may permit the person in
possession of the ship to continue trading
the ship, upon such person providing sufficient security, or may otherwise
deal with the operation of the ship during the period of the arrest.
2. In the absence of agreement between the
parties as to the sufficiency and
form of the security, the Court shall determine
its nature and the amount
thereof, not exceeding the value of the arrested
3. Any request for the ship to be released
upon security being provided shall not be construed as an acknowledgement
of liability nor as a waiver of any defence or any right to limit liability.
4. If a ship has been arrested in a non-party
State and is not released although security in respect of that ship has
been provided in a State Party in respect of the same claim, that security
shall be ordered to be released on application to the Court in the State
5. If in a non-party State the ship is released
upon satisfactory security in respect of that ship being provided, any
security provided in a State Party in respect of the same claim shall be
ordered to be released to the extent that the total amount of security
provided in the two States exceeds:
(a) the claim for which the ship has been
(b) the value of the ship, whichever is the
lower. Such release shall, however, not be ordered unless the security
provided in the non-party State will actually be available to the claimant
and will be freely transferable.
6. Where, pursuant to paragraph 1 of this
article, security has been provided, the person providing such security
may at any time apply to the Court to have
that security reduced, modified, or cancelled.
Right of rearrest and multiple arrest
1. Where in any State a ship has already been
arrested and released or security in respect of that ship has already been
provided to secure a maritime claim, that ship shall not thereafter be
rearrested or arrested in respect of the same maritime claim unless:
(a) the nature or amount of the security in
respect of that ship already provided in respect of the same claim is inadequate,
on condition that the aggregate amount of security may not exceed the value
of the ship; or
(b) the person who has already provided the
security is not, or is unlikely to be, able to fulfil some or all of that
(c) the ship arrested or the security previously
provided was released either:
(i) upon the application or with the consent
of the claimant acting on reasonable grounds, or
(ii) because the claimant could not by taking
reasonable steps prevent the release.
2. Any other ship which would otherwise be
subject to arrest in respect of the same maritime claim shall not be arrested
(a) the nature or amount of the security already
provided in respect of the same claim is inadequate; or
(b) the provisions of paragraph 1 (b) or (c)
of this article are applicable.
3. "Release" for the purpose of this article
shall not include any unlawful release or escape from arrest.
Protection of owners and demise charterers
of arrested ships
1. The Court may as a condition of the arrest
of a ship, or of permitting an arrest already effected to be maintained,
impose upon the claimant who seeks to arrest or who has procured the arrest
of the ship the obligation to provide security of a kind and for an amount,
and upon such terms, as may be determined
by that Court for any loss which may be incurred
by the defendant as a result of the arrest, and for which the claimant
may be found liable, including but not
restricted to such loss or damage as may
be incurred by that defendant in consequence of:
(a) the arrest having been wrongful or unjustified;
(b) excessive security having been demanded
2. The Courts of the State in which an arrest
has been effected shall have jurisdiction to determine the extent of the
liability, if any, of the claimant for loss or damage caused by the arrest
of a ship, including but not restricted to such loss or damage as may be
caused in consequence of:
(a) the arrest having been wrongful or unjustified,
(b) excessive security having been demanded
3. The liability, if any, of the claimant
in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article shall be determined by application
of the law of the State where the arrest was effected.
4. If a Court in another State or an arbitral
tribunal is to determine the merits of the case in accordance with the
provisions of article 7, then proceedings relating to the liability of
the claimant in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article may be stayed
pending that decision.
5. Where pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article
security has been provided, the person providing such security may at any
time apply to the Court to have that security reduced, modified or cancelled.
Jurisdiction on the merits of the case
1. The Courts of the State in which an arrest
has been effected or security provided to obtain the release of the ship
shall have jurisdiction to determine the case upon its merits, unless the
parties validly agree or have validly agreed to submit the dispute to a
Court of another State which accepts jurisdiction, or
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph
1 of this article, the Courts of the State in which an arrest has been
effected, or security provided to obtain the release of the ship, may refuse
to exercise that jurisdiction where that refusal is permitted by the law
of that State and a Court of another State
3. In cases where a Court of the State where
an arrest has been effected or security provided to obtain the release
of the ship:
(a) does not have jurisdiction to determine
the case upon its merits; or
(b) has refused to exercise jurisdiction in
accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2 of this article, such Court
may, and upon request shall, order a period of time within which the claimant
shall bring proceedings before a competent Court or arbitral tribunal.
4. If proceedings are not brought within the
period of time ordered in accordance with paragraph 3 of this article then
the ship arrested or the security provided shall, upon request, be ordered
to be released.
5. If proceedings are brought within the period
of time ordered in accordance with paragraph 3 of this article, or if proceedings
before a competent Court or
arbitral tribunal in another State are brought
in the absence of such order, any final decision resulting therefrom shall
be recognized and given effect with
respect to the arrested ship or to the security
provided in order to obtain its release, on condition that:
(a) the defendant has been given reasonable
notice of such proceedings and a reasonable opportunity to present the
case for the defence; and
(b) such recognition is not against public
policy (ordre public).
6. Nothing contained in the provisions of
paragraph 5 of this article shall restrict any further effect given to
a foreign judgment or arbitral award under the law of the State where the
arrest of the ship was effected or security provided to obtain its release.
1. This Convention shall apply to any ship
within the jurisdiction of any State Party, whether or not that ship is
flying the flag of a State Party.
2. This Convention shall not apply to any
warship, naval auxiliary or other ships owned or operated by a State and
used, for the time being, only on government non-commercial service.
3. This Convention does not affect any rights
or powers vested in any Government or its departments, or in any public
authority, or in any dock or harbour authority, under any international
convention or under any domestic law or regulation, to detain or otherwise
prevent from sailing any ship within their jurisdiction.
4. This Convention shall not affect the power
of any State or Court to make orders affecting the totality of a debtor's
5. Nothing in this Convention shall affect
the application of international conventions providing for limitation of
liability, or domestic law giving effect thereto, in the State where an
arrest is effected.
6. Nothing in this Convention shall modify
or affect the rules of law in force in the States Parties relating to the
arrest of any ship physically within the jurisdiction of the State of its
flag procured by a person whose habitual residence or principal place of
business is in that State, or by any other person who has acquired a claim
from such person by subrogation, assignment or otherwise.
Non-creation of maritime liens
Nothing in this Convention shall be construed
as creating a maritime lien.
1. Any State may, at the time of signature,
ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession, or at any time thereafter,
reserve the right to exclude the application of this Convention to any
or all of the following :
(a) ships which are not seagoing;
(b) ships not flying the flag of a State Party;
(c) claims under article 1, paragraph 1 (s).
2. A State may, when it is also a State Party
to a specified treaty on navigation on inland waterways, declare when signing,
ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to this Convention, that rules
on jurisdiction, recognition and execution of court decisions provided
for in such treaties shall prevail over the rules contained in article
7 of this Convention.
This Convention shall be deposited with the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Signature, ratification, acceptance, approval
1. This Convention shall be open for signature
by any State at the Headquarters of the United Nations, New York, from
1 September 1999 to 31 August 2000 and shall thereafter remain open for
2. States may express their consent to be
bound by this Convention by:
(a) signature without reservation as to ratification,
acceptance or approval; or
(b) signature subject to ratification, acceptance
or approval, followed by ratification, acceptance or approval; or
3. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession
shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument to that effect with the
States with more than one system of law
1. If a State has two or more territorial
units in which different systems of law are applicable in relation to matters
dealt with in this Convention, it may at the time of signature, ratification,
acceptance, approval or accession declare
that this Convention shall extend to all
its territorial units or only to one or more of them and may modify this
declaration by submitting another declaration at any time.
2. Any such declaration shall be notified
to the depositary and shall state expressly the territorial units to which
the Convention applies.
3. In relation to a State Party which has
two or more systems of law with regard to arrest of ships applicable in
different territorial units, references in this Convention to the Court
of a State and the law of a State shall be respectively construed as referring
to the Court of the relevant territorial unit within that State and the
law of the relevant territorial unit of that State.
Entry into force
1. This Convention shall enter into force
six months following the date on which 10 States have expressed their consent
to be bound by it.
2. For a State which expresses its consent
to be bound by this Convention after the conditions for entry into force
thereof have been met, such consent shall take effect three months after
the date of expression of such consent.
Revision and amendment
1. A conference of States Parties for the
purpose of revising or amending this Convention shall be convened by the
Secretary-General of the United Nations at the request of one-third of
the States Parties.
2. Any consent to be bound by this Convention,
expressed after the date of entry into force of an amendment to this Convention,
shall be deemed to apply to the Convention, as amended.
1. This Convention may be denounced by any
State Party at any time after the date on which this Convention enters
into force for that State.
2. Denunciation shall be effected by deposit
of an instrument of denunciation with the depositary.
3. A denunciation shall take effect one year,
or such longer period as may be specified in the instrument of denunciation,
after the receipt of the instrument of denunciation by the depositary.
This Convention is established in a single
original in the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish languages,
each text being equally authentic.
DONE AT Geneva this twelfth day of March,
one thousand nine hundred andninety-nine.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned being duly
authorized by their respective Governments for that purpose have signed