Vessel Arrests and Rule B Attachment
We have significant experience representing shipowners defending against arrest and attachment as well as claimants seeking to exercise their remedies pursuant to federal maritime law and the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims. These are often time-sensitive matters that require an immediate response because the property may only be available for arrest or attachment (within the jurisdiction of the federal court) for short period of time. Our clients are often many miles and time zones away. Success depends on being able to quickly determine the facts and assemble accurate and comprehensive pleadings, coordinate with the U.S. Marshal, and find a reliable substitute custodian. These procedures offer a powerful tool to claimants with either an in rem claim against a vessel or an in personam claim against a shipowner. We have achieved success for our clients on both sides of the process. For instance, here are some of the recent cases in which we have assisted our clients:
- In 2011, within 10 days of receiving a call from a bunker provider in Turkey who was not paid for fuel it provided to a vessel, we were able to arrest the vessel in Everett and obtain for the client full payment for the bunkers as well as recovery of the costs of the arrest;
- In 2013, we arrested a recreational vessel after the owner defaulted on the vessel’s mortgage. We subsequently obtained approval to sell the vessel at a U.S. Marshal’s auction, which ultimately allowed the lender to recover a significant portion of its loss on the unpaid mortgage;
- In 2014, we threatened arrest of a recreational vessel involved in a property subrogation action and were able to recover 90% of the underlying debt for our client;
- Also in 2014, we successfully vacated the arrest of a large motor yacht due to a technical defect in the plaintiff’s complaint. As the result of the vessel’s release, we were able to negotiate a favorable settlement for our client.
- In 2015, within 13 days of receiving a call from a hold cleaning service in LA/LB who was not paid for services provided to a commercial vessel, we were able to arrest a sister ship (and pierce a corporate veil by demonstrating common ownership) and negotiate an acceptable settlement of the underlying debt.