03 notes when requesting a Vietnamese court to arrest a ship to settle maritime complaints

Ship Arrest

Ship arrest is a legal proceeding aimed at restricting or preventing a ship from moving by submitting a request to a competent Court, thereby ensuring the settlement of maritime complaints, applying temporary emergency measures, executing civil judgments, and providing mutual legal assistance. In this article, BLawyers Vietnam presents 03 notes on the procedure for requesting the Court of Justice to secure the settlement of disputes in accordance with Vietnamese law.

1. Conditions for arresting a ship to secure settlement of maritime complaints

Firstly, in order to generate the right to request the Vietnamese Court to issue a ship arrest decision to settle maritime complaints, the claimant needs to prove that its claim belongs to cases that serve as a basis for claiming the right to arbitration according to provisions of the Vietnamese Maritime Code.

When there is a request to arrest a ship to secure the settlement of the above-mentioned maritime complaints, the Court shall decide to arrest the ship in the following cases:

      1. The owner of the ship is the person responsible for the maritime complaints at the time when maritime complaints arise, and is still the owner of the ship at the time of the ship arrest;
      2. The bareboat charterer is the person responsible for the maritime complaints at the time it arose, and is still the bareboat charterer or owner at the time of the ship arrest;
      3. The maritime complaints are based on the mortgage of such ship;
      4. Maritime complaints relate to the ownership or possession of such ship;
      5. The maritime complaints are secured by a maritime lien in respect of that ship.

The arrest of a ship can also be made against one or more other ships owned by the person responsible for the maritime complaints, and that person was at the time that maritime complaints arose:

      1. The owner of the ship involved when the maritime complaints arose;
      2. The bareboat charterer, time charterer or voyage charterer of a ship in connection with the liability that arose.

Notes: This scope of provision does not apply to maritime complaints related to the ownership of ships.

2. Competent authority
      1. Determination of the Court having jurisdiction

For the case of ship arrest to secure the settlement of disputes, the competent Court to issue a ship arrest decision is determined as follows:

        • General principle: The People’s Court at the level of a province where the seaport at which a ship subject to a request for the arrest of a ship is having marine operations is located shall be vested with the authority to grant a decision to arrest that ship.
        • If a seaport has many port terminals in the territory of different provinces and centrally run cities: the People’s Court of the province where the port is located where the ship requested to be detained is engaged in maritime operations has the authority to decide to capture that ship.
        • In addition, the law stipulates that if there is a dispute over jurisdiction between provincial-level People’s Courts: The Chief Justice of the People’s Supreme Court shall consider and decide whether the lower Court has been accorded authority to grant a decision on the arrest of a ship.
      1. Seaport authority

The seaport authority is responsible for implementing the competent authority’s decision to arrest or release a ship being detained. The Director of the Port Authority shall notify in writing the Court, the Maritime competent authority and relevant state management agencies at the seaport of the implementation of the decision to arrest the ship or release the ship being detained.

3. The procedures for ship arrest to secure settlement of maritime complaints
      1. Step 1: Submit the petition and attached documents and evidence to the competent Court to decide to arrest the ship.
      2. Step 2: Within forty-eight hours from the time of receiving the application for arrest of the ship, the Judge must consider and make a decision to accept the application or return the application.
      3. Step 3: The arrestee must provide financial security for the request to arrest the ship and pay the ship arrest fee if the application is accepted.
      4. Step 4: Complaint and settlement of appeals decision to return the application for arrest of ships if the petition is returned.
      5. Step 5: The judge issues a decision to arrest the ship to secure the settlement of the maritime complaints when the person requesting the arrest of the ship presents the bills/documents as prescribed.
      6. Step 6: Send the ship arrest decision to relevant parties for enforcement.
      7. Step 7: Complaints and appeals against ship arrest decisions.
      8. Step 8: Ships being detained to secure the settlement of disputes will be released as soon as one of the grounds prescribed by law is attained.
      9. Step 9: Re-arrest ships in some special cases according to regulations.

The above is a summary of 03 notable points when requesting the Vietnamese Court to arrest a ship to settle maritime complaints.

The above is not official advice from BLawyers Vietnam. If you have any questions or suggestions about the above, please contact us at consult@blawyersvn.com. We would love to hear from you.

Date: 01 August 2023

Writer: BLawyers Vietnam

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