on Maritime Liens and Mortgages
(Geneva, 6 May 1993)
THE STATES PARTIES TO THIS CONVENTION,
CONSCIOUS of the need to improve conditions
for ship financing and the development of national merchant fleets,
RECOGNIZING the desirability of international
uniformity in the field of maritime liens and mortgages, and therefore
CONVINCED of the necessity for an international
legal instrument governing maritime liens and mortgages,
HAVE DECIDED to conclude a Convention
for this purpose and have therefore agreed as follows:
Recognition and enforcement of mortgages,
"hypothèques" and charges
Mortgages, "hypothèques" and registrable
charges of the same nature, which registrable charges of the same nature
will be referred to hereinafter as "charges", effected on seagoing vessels
shall be recognized and enforceable in States Parties provided that:
(a) Such mortgages, "hypothèques" and
charges have been effected and registered in accordance with the law of
the State in which the vessel is registered;
(b) The register and any instruments required
to be deposited with the registrar in accordance with the law of the State
in which the vessel is registered are open to public inspection, and that
extracts from the register and copies of such instruments are obtainable
from the registrar; and
(c) Either the register or any instruments
referred to in subparagraph (b) specifies at least the name and address
of the person in whose favour the mortgage, "hypothèque" or charge
has been effected or that it has been issued to bearer, the maximum amount
secured, if that is a requirement of the law of the State of registration
or if that amount is specified in the instrument creating the mortgage,
"hypothèque" or charge, and the date and other particulars which,
according to the law of the State of registration, determine the ranking
in relation to other registered mortgages, "hypothèques" and charges.
Ranking and effects of mortgages, "hypothèques"
The ranking of registered mortgages, "hypothèques"
or charges as between themselves and, without prejudice to the provisions
of this Convention, their effect in regard to third parties shall be determined
by the law of the State of registration; however, without prejudice to
the provisions of this Convention, all matters relating to the procedure
of enforcement shall be regulated by the law of the State where enforcement
Change of ownership or registration
1. With the exception of the cases provided
for in articles 11 and 12, in all other cases that entail the deregistration
of the vessel from the register of a State Party, such State Party shall
not permit the owner to deregister the vessel unless all registered mortgages,
"hypothèques" or charges are previously deleted or the written consent
of all holders of such mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges is obtained.
However, where the deregistration of the vessel is obligatory in accordance
with the law of a State Party, otherwise than as a result of a voluntary
sale, the holders of registered mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges
shall be notified of the pending deregistration in order to enable such
holders to take appropriate action to protect their interests; unless the
holders consent, the deregistration shall not be implemented earlier than
after a lapse of a reasonable period of time which shall be not less than
three months after the relevant notification to such holders.
2. Without prejudice to article 12, paragraph
5, a vessel which is or has been registered in a State Party shall not
be eligible for registration in another State Party unless either:
(a) A certificate has been issued by the former
State to the effect that the vessel has been deregistered; or
(b) A certificate has been issued by the former
State to the effect that the vessel will be deregistered with immediate
effect, at such time as the new registration is effected. The date of deregistration
shall be the date of the new registration of the vessel.
1. Each of the following claims against the
owner, demise charterer, manager or operator of the vessel shall be secured
by a maritime lien on the vessel:
(a) Claims for wages and other sums due to
the master, officers and other members of the vessel's complement in respect
of their employment on the vessel, including costs of repatriation and
social insurance contributions payable on their behalf;
(b) Claims in respect of loss of life or personal
injury occurring, whether on land or on water, in direct connection with
the operation of the vessel;
(c) Claims for reward for the salvage of the
(d) Claims for port, canal, and other waterway
dues and pilotage dues;
(e) Claims based on tort arising out of physical
loss or damage caused by the operation of the vessel other than loss of
or damage to cargo, containers and passengers' effects carried on the vessel.
2. No maritime lien shall attach to a vessel
to secure claims as set out in subparagraphs (b) and (e) of paragraph 1
which arise out of or result from:
(a) Damage in connection with the carriage
of oil or other hazardous or noxious substances by sea for which compensation
is payable to the claimants pursuant to international conventions or national
law providing for strict liability and compulsory insurance or other means
of securing the claims; or
(b) The radioactive properties or a combination
of radioactive properties with toxic, explosive or other hazardous properties
of nuclear fuel or of radioactive products or waste.
Priority of maritime liens
1. The maritime liens set out in article 4
shall take priority over registered mortgages, "hypothèques" and
charges, and no other claim shall take priority over such maritime liens
or over such mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges which comply with
the requirements of article 1, except as provided in paragraphs 3 and 4
of article 12.
2. The maritime liens set out in article 4
shall rank in the order listed, provided however that maritime liens securing
claims for reward for the salvage of the vessel shall take priority over
all other maritime liens which have attached to the vessel prior to the
time when the operations giving rise to the said liens were performed.
3. The maritime liens set out in each of subparagraphs
(a), (b), (d) and (e) of paragraph 1 of article 4 shall rank pari passu
as between themselves.
4. The maritime liens securing claims for
reward for the salvage of the vessel shall rank in the inverse order of
the time when the claims secured thereby accrued. Such claims shall be
deemed to have accrued on the date on which each salvage operation was
Other maritime liens
Each State Party may, under its law, grant
other maritime liens on a vessel to secure claims, other than those referred
to in article 4, against the owner, demise charterer, manager or operator
of the vessel, provided that such liens:
(a) Shall be subject to the provisions of
articles 8, 10 and 12;
(b) Shall be extinguished
(i) after a period of 6 months, from the time
when the claims secured thereby arose unless, prior to the expiry of such
period, the vessel has been arrested or seized, such arrest or seizure
leading to a forced sale; or
(ii) at the end of a period of 60 days following
a sale to a bona fide purchaser of the vessel, such period to commence
on the date on which the sale is registered in accordance with the law
of the State in which the vessel is registered following the sale;
whichever period expires first; and
(c) Shall rank after the maritime liens set
out in article 4 and also after registered mortgages, "hypothèques"
or charges which comply with the provisions of article 1.
Rights of retention
1. Each State Party may grant under its law
a right of retention in respect of a vessel in the possession of either:
(a) A shipbuilder, to secure claims for the
building of the vessel; or
(b) A shiprepairer, to secure claims for repair,
including reconstruction of the vessel, effected during such possession.
2. Such right of retention shall be extinguished
when the vessel ceases to be in the possession of the shipbuilder or shiprepairer,
otherwise than in consequence of an arrest or seizure.
Characteristics of maritime liens
Subject to the provisions of article 12, the
maritime liens follow the vessel, notwithstanding any change of ownership
or of registration or of flag.
Extinction of maritime liens by lapse of time
1. The maritime liens set out in article 4
shall be extinguished after a period of one year unless, prior to the expiry
of such period, the vessel has been arrested or seized, such arrest or
seizure leading to a forced sale.
2. The one-year period referred to in paragraph
1 shall commence:
(a) With respect to the maritime lien set
out in article 4, paragraph 1(a), upon the claimant's discharge from the
(b) With respect to the maritime liens set
out in article 4, paragraph 1(b) to (e), when the claims secured thereby
and shall not be subject to suspension or
interruption, provided, however, that time shall not run during the period
that the arrest or seizure of the vessel is not permitted by law.
Assignment and subrogation
1. The assignment of or subrogation to a claim
secured by a maritime lien entails the simultaneous assignment of or subrogation
to such a maritime lien.
2. Claimants holding maritime liens may not
be subrogated to the compensation payable to the owner of the vessel under
an insurance contract.
Notice of forced sale
1. Prior to the forced sale of a vessel in
a State Party, the competent authority in such State Party shall ensure
that notice in accordance with this article is provided to:
(a) The authority in charge of the register
in the State of registration;
(b) All holders of registered mortgages, "hypothèques"
or charges which have not been issued to bearer;
(c) All holders of registered mortgages, "hypothèques"
or charges issued to bearer and all holders of the maritime liens set out
in article 4, provided that the competent authority conducting the forced
sale receives notice of their respective claims; and
(d) The registered owner of the vessel.
2. Such notice shall be provided at least
30 days prior to the forced sale and shall contain either:
(a) The time and place of the forced sale
and such particulars concerning the forced sale or the proceedings leading
to the forced sale as the authority in a State Party conducting the proceedings
shall determine is sufficient to protect the interests of persons entitled
to notice; or,
(b) If the time and place of the forced sale
cannot be determined with certainty, the approximate time and anticipated
place of the forced sale and such particulars concerning the forced sale
as the authority in a State Party conducting the proceedings shall determine
is sufficient to protect the interests of persons entitled to notice.
If notice is provided in accordance with subparagraph
(b), additional notice of the actual time and place of the forced sale
shall be provided when known but, in any event, not less than seven days
prior to the forced sale.
3. The notice specified in paragraph 2 of
this article shall be in writing and either given by registered mail, or
given by any electronic or other appropriate means which provide confirmation
of receipt, to the persons interested as specified in paragraph l, if known.
In addition, the notice shall be given by press announcement in the State
where the forced sale is conducted and, if deemed appropriate by the authority
conducting the forced sale, in other publications.
Effects of forced sale
1. ln the event of the forced sale of the
vessel in a State Party, all registered mortgages, "hypothèques"
or charges, except those assumed by the purchaser with the consent of the
holders, and all liens and other encumbrances of whatsoever nature, shall
cease to attach to the vessel, provided that:
(a) At the time of the sale, the vessel is
in the area of the jurisdiction of such State; and
(b) The sale has been effected in accordance
with the law of the said State and the provisions of article 11 and this
2. The costs and expenses arising out of the
arrest or seizure and subsequent sale of the vessel shall be paid first
out of the proceeds of sale. Such costs and expenses include, inter
alia , the costs for the upkeep of the vessel and the crew as well
as wages, other sums and costs referred to in article 4, paragraph 1(a),
incurred from the time of arrest or seizure. The balance of the proceeds
shall be distributed in accordance with the provisions of this Convention,
to the extent necessary to satisfy the respective claims. Upon satisfaction
of all claimants, the residue of the proceeds, if any, shall be paid to
the owner and it shall be freely transferable.
3. A State Party may provide in its law that,
in the event of the forced sale of a stranded or sunken vessel following
its removal by a public authority in the interest of safe navigation or
the protection of the marine environment, the costs of such removal shall
be paid out of the proceeds of the sale, before all other claims secured
by a maritime lien on the vessel.
4. If at the time of the forced sale the vessel
is in the possession of a shipbuilder or of a shiprepairer who under the
law of the State Party in which the sale takes place enjoys a right of
retention, such shipbuilder or shiprepairer must surrender possession of
the vessel to the purchaser but is entitled to obtain satisfaction of his
claim out of the proceeds of sale after the satisfaction of the claims
of holders of maritime liens mentioned in article 4.
5. When a vessel registered in a State Party
has been the object of a forced sale in any State Party, the competent
authority shall, at the request of the purchaser, issue a certificate to
the effect that the vessel is sold free of all registered mortgages, "hypothèques"
or charges, except those assumed by the purchaser, and of all liens and
other encumbrances, provided that the requirements set out in paragraph
l (a) and (b) have been complied with. Upon production of such certificate,
the registrar shall be bound to delete all registered mortgages, "hypothèques"
or charges except those assumed by the purchaser, and to register the vessel
in the name of the purchaser or to issue a certificate of deregistration
for the purpose of new registration, as the case may be.
6. States Parties shall ensure that any proceeds
of a forced sale are actually available and freely transferable.
Scope of application
1. Unless otherwise provided in this Convention,
its provisions shall apply to all seagoing vessels registered in a State
Party or in a State which is not a State Party, provided that the latter's
vessels are subject to the jurisdiction of the State Party.
2. Nothing in this Convention shall create
any rights in, or enable any rights to be enforced against, any vessel
owned or operated by a State and used only on Government non-commercial
Communication between States Parties
For the purpose of articles 3, 11 and 12,
the competent authorities of the States Parties shall be authorized to
correspond directly between themselves.
Conflict of conventions
Nothing in this Convention shall affect the
application of any international convention providing for limitation of
liability or of national legislation giving effect thereto.
Temporary change of flag
If a seagoing vessel registered in one State
is permitted to fly temporarily the flag of another State, the following
(a) For the purposes of this article, references
in this Convention to the "State in which the vessel is registered" or
to the "State of registration" shall be deemed to be references to the
State in which the vessel was registered immediately prior to the change
of flag, and references to "the authority in charge of the register" shall
be deemed to be references to the authority in charge of the register in
(b) The law of the State of registration shall
be determinative for the purpose of recognition of registered mortgages,
"hypothèques" and charges.
(c) The State of registration shall require
a cross-reference entry in its register specifying the State whose flag
the vessel is permitted to fly temporarily; likewise, the State whose flag
the vessel is permitted to fly temporarily shall require that the authority
in charge of the vessel's record specifies by a cross-reference in the
record the State of registration.
(d) No State Party shall permit a vessel registered
in that State to fly temporarily the flag of another State unless all registered
mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges on that vessel have been previously
satisfied or the written consent of the holders of all such mortgages,
"hypothèques" or charges has been obtained.
(e) The notice referred to in article ll shall
be given also to the competent authority in charge of the vessel's record
in the State whose flag the vessel is permitted to fly temporarily.
(f) Upon production of the certificate of
deregistration referred to in article 12, paragraph 5, the competent authority
in charge of the vessel's record in the State whose flag the vessel is
permitted to fly temporarily shall, at the request of the purchaser, issue
a certificate to the effect that the right to fly the flag of that State
(g) Nothing in this Convention is to be understood
to impose any obligation on States Parties to permit foreign vessels to
fly temporarily their flag or national vessels to fly temporarily a foreign
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 1993 to 31 August 1994 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
Entry into force
1. This Convention shall enter into force
6 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 3 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 the 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 sixth day of May,
one thousand nine hundred and ninety-three.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned
being duly authorized by their respective Governments for that purpose
have signed this Convention.