Services — Arrested Vessel Recoveries
An improper arrest is the worst nightmare of vessel owners and
mortgage-holders: it often results in the total loss of the vessel
without recompense from her insurance company or P&I Club.
Because such an arrest is always accompanied by a legal claim of some kind
advanced in a local court, the shipowner is required to protect his vessel
from fraudulent seizure in a foreign—and usually hostile—jurisdiction.
of Improper Seizures
The most common type of improper seizure is one which results from
a charter dispute. Usually, the charterer claims to have
been wronged by the shipowner and has the ship seized by
improperly influencing a local court. Also common are
improper seizures which result from a dispute with a shore entity
such as a chandler, agent, or stevedore. In almost every
case, the claimant has a clandestine connection to the court,
either through a local confederate or by paying a bribe.
This type of seizure does not occur in well-regarded maritime
jurisdictions due to counter-security requirements and sanctions
available for wrongful arrest, but in other areas, such as Africa,
South-East Asia and South America, fraudulent seizures are common.
Benefit at the Shipowner's Expense
A shipowner must realize that no one loses when his ship is seized
except himself and the crew. Local agents, lawyers,
chandlers, ship-suppliers, and even the port itself (through dock
fees, etc.) all benefit from the ship's arrest. The only
reason why all ships don't get seized in corrupt ports is that
local receivers would protest if shipowners refused to sail to the
port due to hostile conditions.
Freeing Ships the Traditional
Usually the shipowner manages to free his vessel by resolving the
underlying dispute and obtaining a release of claim—even if the
owner is totally innocent. Sometimes even this will not
satisfy the local interested parties, including the agent and the
court. Often, the shipowner's only option is capitulation.
VessEx Recovery Option
In every case, VessEx will determine and verify the status of the
underlying claims that are the basis for the seizure at issue.
VessEx will not effect the removal of a vessel from a legitimate
seizure or one resulting from a matter of genuine controversy.
VessEx will make an independent investigation of each case before
securing the vessel’s release. Of course, the facts of
each case and the conditions in each port dictate the best method
with which to approach this problem. VessEx will be pleased
to discuss possible solutions to each problem on a case-by-case
basis with prospective clients.
Proven Ship Recovery Experience
to view an excerpt from Seized by VessEx Operations Director Capt.
Max Hardberger for an account of his efforts to recover a ship in Haiti.
Ship surveillance in Venezuela
Book cover of Seized