by Danielle J. Butler, Esq.
The Arrest of a vessel, whether she is private or commercial, is part of the process by which a Court in Admiralty gains jurisdiction over the subject matter by a lawsuit. These lawsuits are known as “in rem” actions, meaning that the action is against a thing, rather than against a person.
Generally, the vessel, itself, is responsible for payment of liens, mortgages or any other maritime lien that may arise. When the owner encumbers a vessel with a First Preferred Ship’s Mortgage, it is the vessel that guarantees the mortgage payment, rather than the owner. However, the owner may be personally liable if the bank requires a personal promise or guaranty to pay.