Arrest of Ships in Cyprus


The Cyprus Admiralty jurisdiction is exercised by the Supreme Court of Cyprus. The Courts of Justice Law, No. 14 of 1960, which was passed upon Cyprus gaining its independence, and which was a legislation to provide for the constitution, jurisdiction and powers of the Courts of the Republic, firmly anchored Cyprus law and procedure for the arrest of ships to the English legislation applicable whilst the island was still a colony of the British Empire.
 

The Cyprus Admiralty Court had jurisdiction to  hear and determine any question or claim falling within those categories listed in the English Administration of Justice Act of 1956, which are as follows:

a) any claim to possession or ownership of a vessel or to ownership of any share therein;
b) any question arising between the co-owners of a vessel as to possession, employment, or earnings
of that vessel;
c) any claim in respect of a mortgage of or charge on a vessel or any share thereof;
d) any claim for damage done by a vessel;
e) any claim for damage received by a vessel;
f) any claim for loss of life or personal injury sustained in consequence of defect in a vessel or in her
apparel/ equipment, or of a wrongful act, neglect, or default of owners, charterers, or persons in
possession or control of a vessel or of master or crew thereof or of any other person for whose
wrongful acts, neglects, or defaults owners, charterers, or persons in possession or control of a
vessel are responsible, being an act, neglect or default in navigation or management of the vessel,
in loading, carriage, or discharge of goods or in embarkation, carriage, or disembarkation of
person;
g) any claim for loss or damage to goods carried in a vessel;
h) any claim arising out of any agreement relating to carriage of goods in a vessel or to use/charter;
i) any claim in nature of salvage;
j) any claim in nature of towage in respect of a vessel;
k) any claim in nature of pilotage in respect of a vessel;
l) in respect of goods or materials supplied to a vessel for her operation or maintenance;
m) any claim in respect of construction, repair, equipment of a vessel, dock charges/ dues;
n) any claim by a master or crew for wages and claim by or in respect of a master or crew for any
money or property, which under any provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts 1894-1954 is
recoverable as wages at Court or in the manner in which wages may be recovered;
o) any claim by a master, shipper, charterer, or agent in respect of disbursements made a vessel’s
account;
p) any claim arising out of a general average act;
r) any claim arising out of bottomry; and
s) any claim for the forfeiture or condemnation of a vessel or of goods.
 

In Rem Jurisdiction
 
An action in rem is particularly effective for the protection of a plaintiff’s claim as it can provide security at the institution of the action. Given the ease with which a ship is able to move from one country to another, thereby escaping responsibility for her actions by removing herself outside the jurisdiction of the court, the action in rem is of paramount importance in admiralty matters. The claims for which an action in rem may be brought are set out in sections 1 and 3 of the Administration of Justice Act. As mentioned above, section 1 gives the court admiralty jurisdiction to thy issues that are set out therein and section 3 sets out the circumstances under which the admiralty jurisdiction in rem of the court may be invoked to have ships arrests.
 
Two jurisdictional conditions as to the subject matter of the dispute are necessary and sufficient, namely:
 
  1. The subject matter must fall within the claims enumerated in section 1 of the Administration of Justice Act 1958 (see above); and
  2. The subject matter must give rise to either
    1. A “Maritime Lien”
    2. A “Statutory Lien”.
 
The arrest of a ship is a component of the action in rem. Therefore an action in rem may be invoked against a ship and, thus, the right to arrest such a ship.
 
Arrest of a “Sister Ship”
 
A ship can also be arrested under sections 3(4) of the 1956 Act. This section permits, under certain circumstances, the arrest of a ship other than the one in respect of which the claim arose.
 
The importance of this section lies in the fact that it introduced into both English and Cyprus law, the concept that a ship other than the ship that was involved in the offence may be arrested.
 
Several prerequisites must be fulfilled before the court will permit the plaintiff to invoke an action in rem against either the offending vessel or an alternative vessel or an alternative vessel beneficially owned by a defendant who is liable in personam.
 
Our firm

Our firm’s shipping and maritime department is led by Andreas Georghadjis. Andreas, the founder and managing partner of the firm, is widely respected and has over the years gained a reputation as a skilled, creative and aggressive litigator in commercial disputes. He is the author of “Arrest of ships in Cyprus”, published by Lloyds of London Press, and has been involved in most of the reported maritime cases of the Cyprus Courts over the past 30 years and in several maritime international arbitration cases in London.Andreas Georghadjis LLC provides a full range of legal services to shipping companies, ship owners, financial institutions charterers, crew and P&I clubs. 

The firm has been awarded several awards in the sector. The latest are the following: 

International Maritime Disputes Law Firm of the Year in Cyprus 
CorporateINTL Global Awards: Winner for the year 2017

International Maritime Disputes Law Firm of the Year in Cyprus  
Global Law Expers (GLE):  Winner for the year 2017


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