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Old 09-23-2015, 01:20 PM   #1
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Question Arrest a Boat?

Boat left at Massachusetts yard arrested in debt case | Trade Only Today
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:00 PM   #2
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:16 PM   #3
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Marine law is strange.

When someone has a claim against a boat owner, he can go to court (federal presumably) and get an "arrest warrant" for the boat. A federal marshal serves the warrant on the captain and then the boat is not allowed to leave port until arrangements are made to lift the arrest warrant.

Ask me how I know all of this . I am not a marine lawyer.

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Old 09-23-2015, 02:34 PM   #4
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Yep, boats can be arrested. Part of maritime law.
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:37 PM   #5
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It's quite a bit more common than one realizes as recovering a boat or enforcing a lien against one is difficult due to their mobility. When a boat shipper wasn't paying his freight bills, that was the means of collecting. The ship was arrested with all the boats on it. The boat owners, who had already paid freight to the intermediary paid again to the ship company.

Recently had a foreclosure in Dania that was then stolen. Haven't heard any update to that story.

A lot of debts are collected from boat owners when their own lawyer informs them that this can easily be done. Service facility tries to collect. Ignored. Tries again. Ignored. Files the paperwork to get it arrested, now the boat owner contacts his attorney and after advice pays immediately.
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:49 PM   #6
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ASD-that is Maritime Law. Debts of a boat are deemed to be just that. As B noted, boats are mobile and owners are most often in other countries. This is a longstanding provision of Maritime Law going back to the early days of maritime trade with the Venetians in the 15th century. It is the only effective means of making sure vessels pay their bills. It is also the reason that maritime lenders require recreational vessels to be documented. Documentation is required for a vessel, even a recreational vessel to be in "maritime trade". You may recall that about 6 months ago the Iranians "arrested" a Maersk Lines boat in the Arabian Gulf and escorted it to shore. Provoked a bit of an international incident until the vessel's owner (not Maersk, Maersk has leased the vessel). In the US, it is quite an easy matter to go to Federal Court and get a detainer on a boat. The only drawback is you have to post a bond with the Court to cover the cost of detaining the vessel. Most federal districts have a set amount of bond required, usually around $15K.
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:53 PM   #7
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Ha! Another feature of the law that often takes people by surprise. I recall in my atricling year, getting a small ship arrested for a client. It caused quite a stir in my office, as it was quite a novelty, since that sort of work usually went to specialized Maritime lawyers. At the time I was the only "lawyer" in the office with a boat, or with any familiarity whatsoever with the Ship Registry.
Part of the process at that time (1980) required the arrest warrant to be fastened to the mast, so the Sheriff had to get aboard to accomplish the arrest. The debt had to be paid in full before the arrest was lifted and the ship allowed to go on its way.
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Old 09-23-2015, 03:37 PM   #8
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There was a global boat shipping company that went bust a couple of years ago. They arrested the ship when it docked in the US AND all of the vessels that were on board. It was a nightmare for the owners.
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Old 09-23-2015, 04:55 PM   #9
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So as a follow up question. When registering boats in Alaska, the state does not issue a title for boats or motors.


In order for a lien to take effect the vessel has to be titled and/or documented. My recent situation almost caused me to un-document my boat, register it in Alaska and leave the State of Washington. (Hint water user fee= $15+)


So I wonder how that would work?
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:48 PM   #10
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There was a global boat shipping company that went bust a couple of years ago. They arrested the ship when it docked in the US AND all of the vessels that were on board. It was a nightmare for the owners.
Yes, that was Yacht Path.
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:20 PM   #11
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Hey, who's going to argue with a guy whose first name is Viking?

We worked a case a few years back with the U.S. Marshalls Office.
Without getting in to the boring details, we hit the facility with several Marshalls, a couple of local LEOS's and us. Pretty interesting to see the looks on the owners/employees faces when they read them the warrant and seizure notices. Even more interesting to see a line of very large vessels being carted off on lowboys, etc....
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:41 PM   #12
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Hey, who's going to argue with a guy whose first name is Viking?

We worked a case a few years back with the U.S. Marshalls Office.
Without getting in to the boring details, we hit the facility with several Marshalls, a couple of local LEOS's and us. Pretty interesting to see the looks on the owners/employees faces when they read them the warrant and seizure notices. Even more interesting to see a line of very large vessels being carted off on lowboys, etc....
Viking is a woman! She is a very experienced captain and manager of marine railway that deals with Gloucester fisherman (Gloucesterman). I used to know her and she is the consummate professional.
Like many waterfront types, she will treat you with respect and demands it in return.
I used to work with her and her ex hubbie, another class act.
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:59 PM   #13
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Viking is a woman! She is a very experienced captain and manager of marine railway that deals with Gloucester fisherman (Gloucesterman)...
Even cooler!
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:03 AM   #14
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I became aware of the possibility of a boat being arrested and prosecuted with the following:

The U.S. Attorney’s office in New Orleans was engaged for some time in a series of criminal investigations involving a brothel in New Orleans. (A brothel in New Orleans!! As Captain Louie would have said, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that prostitution is going on here.”) The Feds originally thought, when they were doing their wiretaps, that they would find all sorts of criminal violations including drugs and other major federal offenses. Instead, they only found a New Orleans brothel, and no drugs or any other prosecutable activity.

The Feds obtained indictments against, among others, the madam and several prostitutes. They also obtained an indictment against two businessmen who were charged with prostitution conspiracy. The two faced up to five years in prison because of their alleged roles in hiring hookers to participate in a party on a yacht owned by one of the men that had sailed from Louisiana to Mississippi with the prostitutes. The name of the boat – no kidding - CRIME SCENE. The New Orleans Times Picayune of April 30, 2003, reported:

“The trial was scuttled at the last minute when defense attorneys prepared motions to force the publication of the customer list and, perhaps, force the U.S. attorney’s office to bow out of the case because of the connections of two of the johns.

“After those revelations, two veteran prosecutors . . . took over and began crafting plea offers that defendants couldn’t refuse. The most creative plea bargain was given to the only two customers to be charged . . . Originally facing felony charges for hiring hookers for a party on [the yacht of one of the defendants] as it crossed state lines from Louisiana to Mississippi, the two men were allowed to plead guilty to an obscure maritime law characterized as a ‘petty offense.’ Under the unusual arrangement, the boat – a 41-foot Sea Ray named Crime Scene – pleaded guilty to a felony and the corporation that owns the boat was fined $80,000.”

I feel safer now.
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Old 09-24-2015, 12:00 PM   #15
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I feel safer now.
Prostitution is a great threat to public safety and marine traffic!
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:56 PM   #16
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Prostitution is a great threat to public safety and marine traffic!
It gives new meaning to the term jon boat.
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Old 10-03-2015, 09:54 PM   #17
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I think the term "arrest" is being mixed up with the correct term of "seizure". You can't arrest an object, you can seize it, you can sell it to satisfy a debt once the correct judicial processes have occurred.

A person on the other hand can be arrested if it is believed they have committed a crime which under the definition of arrest includes the definition of seizure but carries a lot more rules. That arrest is either custodial or non custodial in nature, ie a summons for a minor traffic offense is a non custodial arrest where you agree to appear at a later date, time and location .

Custodial arrests have certain definitive time lines that must be adhered to I.e for appearances before a judge or magistrate and generally a bond is available after booking based upon the alleged charge and your individual situation, for example if you are intoxicated you will generally be held till you are no longer under the influence (different courts and jails have different rules about the definition of under the influence as it relates to an arrestee). A serious crime will generally get you a free stay at the jail and a trip before the judge before bond is offered......and longer if you can't afford it........

I could go on but enough ranting and corrections from my boats soapbox....
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:06 PM   #18
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I believe the correct term in maritime law is in fact "arrest" regarding a vessel, but no lawyer here...
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:25 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by gwkiwi View Post
I think the term "arrest" is being mixed up with the correct term of "seizure". You can't arrest an object, you can seize it, you can sell it to satisfy a debt once the correct judicial processes have occurred.

A person on the other hand can be arrested if it is believed they have committed a crime which under the definition of arrest includes the definition of seizure but carries a lot more rules. That arrest is either custodial or non custodial in nature, ie a summons for a minor traffic offense is a non custodial arrest where you agree to appear at a later date, time and location .

Custodial arrests have certain definitive time lines that must be adhered to I.e for appearances before a judge or magistrate and generally a bond is available after booking based upon the alleged charge and your individual situation, for example if you are intoxicated you will generally be held till you are no longer under the influence (different courts and jails have different rules about the definition of under the influence as it relates to an arrestee). A serious crime will generally get you a free stay at the jail and a trip before the judge before bond is offered......and longer if you can't afford it........

I could go on but enough ranting and corrections from my boats soapbox....

MARITIME PRACTICE & PROCEDURE
ARREST OF VESSEL

Arrest of a vessel is part of the process by which an Admiralty Court gains jurisdiction over the subject matter of a law suit. These lawsuits are known as "in rem" actions meaning that the action is against a "thing" rather than a person.

Arrest of Vessel
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