Ireland: Arresting A Ship In Ireland

Last Updated: 8 May 2008
Article by Niamh Loughran
Most Read Contributor in Ireland, September 2019

1. Introduction

The 1952 Arrest Convention ("1952 Convention") was given the force of law in Ireland by the passing of the Jurisdiction of the Courts (Maritime Conventions) Act, 1989 ("the 1989 Act"). The 1989 Act was passed for the purposes of the Convention and left the existing law in relation to ships to which the Convention does not apply unrepealed namely the Courts of Admiralty (Ireland) Acts, 1867 and 1876. We now have a situation in Ireland whereby there is very old legislation governing non Convention ships and relatively recent legislation covering Convention ships.

Ireland operates under a common law system and the law of arrest in Ireland is somewhat similar to the law of arrest in England. By way of background when Ireland implemented the 1952 Convention under the 1989 Act it appendixed the Convention to the Act.

2. Procedure to Arrest

The 1989 Act implements the 1952 Convention and Article 1 of the 1952 Convention sets out the type of claims which are maritime claims within the meaning of Article 1. In Ireland proceedings are brought in rem that being on behalf of the vessel. Claims are categorised into maritime liens and statutory liens.

A practice has built up among lawyers in Ireland where a warning letter is usually sent to the owners or the vessel's agent in advance of the application to arrest the vessel. This is not a legislative requirement. In order to arrest a vessel a Summons is issued in the High Court in Ireland. In addition to that an Affidavit is filed in the High Court setting out the basis of the claim, exhibiting the bill of lading, charterparty and any other relevant document to assist the application to arrest. The Affidavit can be sworn by either the arresting party or their solicitor.

The application is made Ex-Parte to the Master of the High Court or the Admiralty Judge. No arrest order will be granted by the court unless it is satisfied that the vessel is within Irish waters. In addition to that and prior to the arrest order being granted the arresting party must give an undertaking that they will be responsible for Admiralty Marshal's expenses. These expenses are made up of the fee due to the ship keeper who remains on board while the vessel is under arrest and any other expenses incurred as a result of the arrest order including moving the vessel and soforth.

Once an order is made by the High Court a vessel will remain under arrest until such time as it is released by court order. On payment into court of appropriate security the vessel will be released. In practice an appropriate letter of guarantee from a recognised bank or a letter of undertaking from a recognised P&I Club is accepted by any claimant and on consent then an application will be made to court for the release of the vessel.

3. Sistership Arrest

Under the 1989 Act on the basis that the 1952 Convention was appendixed to that particular piece of legislation, Sistership Arrest in Ireland is permissible. However, this power of arrest of a sistership is confined to ships of Convention countries only. This was established in the Irish case of the Marshal Gelovani [1995] 1IR159 and subsequently in the Irish case of the Kapitan Labunets [1995] 1IR164.

4. Jurisdiction

Once an arrest order has been obtained from the Irish Courts it is up to the arresting party then to serve the Plenary Summons on the arrested vessel. Once the Plenary Summons has been served on the vessel the Irish Courts have jurisdiction in relation to the matter. Obviously where both parties agree to submit to another jurisdiction or where there is a binding arbitration clause the Irish courts would not have jurisdiction.

5. Sale of a Vessel

If appropriate security is not forthcoming from the registered owners of the arrested vessel there is a facility whereby an application can be made to court to have the vessel sold. Terms and conditions of sale are drawn up and once the court order for sale is made the vessel is sold by the Admiralty Marshal "as is". The Admiralty Marshal appoints an auctioneer who handles the sale of the vessel. In addition to that the Admiralty Marshal appoints an expert who carries out an appraisement of the vessel and this figure constitutes the reserve price. If the reserve price is reached at the auction the vessel is sold. The reserve figure is not disclosed to the auctioneer until the auction commences and the auctioneer during the course of the auction informs bidders when the vessel is actually on the open market.

The proceeds of sale are then lodged in court and a hearing then takes place in relation to the priorities of claims. It will be necessary for each interested party including the arrested party to have obtained the Judgment against the vessel in circumstances where no Appearance to the proceedings has been entered by the registered owner. The purchaser is responsible for the auctioneer's fees and it is usually 5% of the sale price. In addition there is a duty payable to the court of 10% of the sale price which comes out of the proceeds of sale. As one would expect there is an order of priority of claims with the Admiralty Marshal's expenses ranking ahead of any other claim.

6. Future of Arrest

The International Convention on the Arrest of Ships, 1999 ("the 1999 Arrest Convention") clarifies the wording of the 1952 Convention applicable to recent practice and modifies the 1952 Convention in order to make it consistent with other International Conventions. It includes additional categories of maritime claims which did not previously exist in the 1952 Arrest Convention for instance Article 1 (e) of the 1999 Convention includes "damage or threat of damage caused by a ship to the environment, coastline or related interest &". This is particularly relevant in view of the number of environmental disasters in the last number of years.

In addition the 1999 Arrest Convention also includes that a ship may be arrested for the purpose of obtaining security notwithstanding that there may be a jurisdiction clause or arbitration clause operating.

At the moment there is no precise indication in Ireland as to when the 1999 Arrest Convention will be given the force of law and it appears that Ireland is adopting a wait and see approach as to whether the 1999 Arrest Convention obtains more international recognition, perhaps at that stage Ireland will alter it's stance.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions