Thirteenth Edition (2024)

Preface

The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017 came into force on April 1, 2018, repealing the outdated Admiralty Courts Act of 1861. Under this act, jurisdiction regarding maritime claims is vested in the respective High Courts and extends to the territorial waters of their jurisdictions. The act also allows for the central government to extend jurisdiction.

The High Courts of Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Gujarat, Hyderabad Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, and Odisha have jurisdiction over Admiralty actions.

We believe that all High Courts with admiralty jurisdiction should have Pan-India jurisdiction instead of being restricted to state territorial waters. This would protect the interests of claimants and make India more user-friendly for ship arrest.

When a ship arrives at a port for a short period to load or discharge cargo before sailing to its onward destination, it becomes nearly impossible for claimants to file actions due to various reasons. The current act works against claimants because the party initiating the suit invokes the jurisdiction of the High Court within whose territorial waters the vessel is located, leaving the claimant vulnerable when the vessel sails out. If the vessel moves to another port in India, it falls under the territorial jurisdiction of another High Court, requiring fresh proceedings to obtain an arrest or release order, along with the deposition of court fees again, without refunds from the previous court.

Moreover, obtaining an order to withdraw the suit to initiate fresh action in another state, finding legal representation, and preparing for filing the admiralty suit all take time, by which the vessel may have already moved out of that state, frustrating the claimant's efforts.

A claimant wanting to arrest a vessel for a legitimate claim in one High Court's jurisdiction wouldn't be able to do so in another High Court's jurisdiction unless they withdraw their application in the previous jurisdiction. This allows vessel owners to evade claimants and liability, making it impossible for claimants to pursue the vessel.

Previously, India was considered one of the best jurisdictions for ship arrest, attracting claimants globally to initiate legal action in the country.

The admiralty jurisdiction of a High Court depends on the presence of a foreign ship in Indian waters and its subsequent arrest. This jurisdiction can be assumed by the concerned High Court regardless of whether the defendant resides or carries on business within its jurisdiction.

The Act should ideally grant Pan-India jurisdiction to each High Court with admiralty jurisdiction instead of restricting it to their territorial waters.

This act seems to favor ship owners and P&I Clubs, protecting vessel interests and making it nearly impossible for vessels to be arrested in Indian waters. It should have also considered the interests of claimants and petitioners.

According to Section 9, subsections (1) & (2), the limitation period has been reduced from 3 years to 1 year for maritime liens, and to 2 years for claims under clause (a) of subsection (1). This works against claimants and crew members, limiting their chances of obtaining justice or reimbursement for losses.

Despite these drawbacks, the Act represents a significant advancement in India's maritime regime and jurisprudence.

While this book primarily focuses on Ship Arrest in India and Admiralty Laws, it covers the entire spectrum of admiralty edicts, including substantive admiralty law prevalent in India, along with several new chapters on procedures, summaries, and notes.

Previously accessible for private use only, Ship Arrest in India is now available for free to all, sharing the content database of Admiralty Practice in India. The online edition includes a research engine for searching reported or unreported Indian Admiralty court orders, judgments, and articles.

This book sheds light on Indian Admiralty law and procedures, thus bringing maritime and admiralty practice to the forefront of the legal fraternity.

It serves as a comprehensive guide to admiralty law and procedure in India, aiming to better inform shipping and industry professionals to make prompt and informed decisions.

The book seeks to clarify legal requirements, permissions, and prohibitions, rather than comment on their effectiveness. It hopes to contribute to the realistic assessment and debate of these issues.

While the book does not exhaustively cover any topic or predict case outcomes, nor can it replace competent legal counsel, it aims to be accurate at the time of publication, acknowledging that its accuracy may diminish over time.

This book is the first of its kind on admiralty laws published in India and is crucial for advancing general understanding about the regulation of admiralty laws in the country.


Dr. Shrikant Pareshnath Hathi 
and 
Mrs. Binita Shrikant Hathi
Mumbai, India, June 01, 2024


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Captain Suresh Divekar
Dr.Anil Sharma
Hassan Zubedi
Captain Leontopoulos C
Afia SenGupta
Bruce Hailey
Marcello Cignolini 
Charlie Zhou 
Duncan Ross
Charles Hattersley
Pravin Mhatre
Uttam Hathi
Leonard van Houten
Ruben J. Levy
A.B.M Shamshud Doulah
Ilan Orly
Alberto Batini
Sameer Gupta
Shailesh Kothari
Ahmad Ali 
Vladimir Mednikov
Alessandro Palmigiano
Dr Christian Farrugia
Henrik Kleis
Panayiotis Neocleous
Dr. Carlos Alfredo Lopez Guevara
Thomas Tan
Suhail Farooqui
Rogaciano Rebelo
Pritish Das
Monika Gothankar
Natasha Sailopal
Vidya Rajan
Rajnandini Muduli
Sophia Bose
Ben Chow
Trevor Gu
Sharad Shetty
Howard Zelfde
Henk Jansen
Reinier Detailleur
Julian Castillero
Vijay Ghosh
Aaleah Wright
Lacey Lopez
Daeja Hill
Jessie Simms
Martin Ang
Dr. Steve Smith
Dr. Aaron Brown
Mohamed Mirza
Roger Peng
James Clark
Anthony Bauer
Aiden Hansen
Alec Jones
Dr. Abraham Johnson
Kaaren Jensen
Dr. Aleela Miller
Kachina Williams
Dr. Alena Anderson
Jaison Watson
James Peter
Chris Cooper
Thom Smith
Kadee Pedersen
Dimple Chaterjee
Ben Jones
Andrea Wang
Sherwyn James
Kylie Dsouza
Dimitris Alegre
Arjun Agarwal
Sophia Watson
Charles Brooks
Reyansh Khatri
Evan Kelly
Colton Sanders
Emily Hayes
Vihaan Patel
Thomas Diaz
Corbin Griffin
Quinn Russell
Uriel Alexander
Carter Bryant
Taylor Gonzales
Aditya Reddy
Ella Foster
Weston Simmons
Christian Butler
Walter Washington
Warren Flores
Arnav Ahuja
Charlotte Hughes
Eadgar Scott
Rohit Garg
Dabil Green
Sanjay Chopra
Emma Patterson
Quinton Long
Caleb Rivera
Shaurya Bakshi
Tucker Cooper
Cameron Richardson
Skylar Cox
Dhruv Arya
Tanner Howard
Camila Torres
Krishna Balakrishnan
Urijah Peterson
Krish Banerjee
Una Gray
Clara Ramirez
Ishaan Burman
Caden James
Arush Bhatt
Daisy Haves
Fabian Jenkins
Anik Mukherjee
Ajay Mehta
Gabriela Coleman
Dakota Henderson
Akshay Dasgupta
Jack Ross
Harper Barnes
Dalton Wood
Chetan Modi
Manish Batra
Mohan Gill
Prem Naidu
Rahul Mahajan
Jacqueline Bennett
Rajesh Singh
Sanjay Thakur
Rohit Purohit
Vijay Rao
Gael Price
Daniel Sanders
Fatima Kelly
Abhay Ray
Bodhi Shah
Kamal Zacharia
Navin Bose
Advik Randey
Hannah Brooks
Issac Watson
Daphne James
Ramesh Gupta
Eammon Baker
Rajesh Ganguly
Agnes Nelson
Gage Bailey
Felix Murphy
Harley Bell
Ayush Chaterjee
Dawson Morgan
Iris Cook
Siddharth Puri
Advaith Ranganathan
Raghav Seth
Parth Sachdev
Shivansh Sharma
Samar Das
Kaden Reed
Desmond Rogers
Kaithlyn Morris
Kamal Datta
Navin Deol
Fab King
Gabbrielle Young
Hadden Allen
Iaain Hall
Rohan Deshpande
Iaasha Walker
Jaan Lee
Gabor Lewis
Fabiola Clark
Kacy Martinez
Advik Dewan
Fabri Garcia
Hadeki Thompson
Ayush Kohli
Lace Martin
Jabaree Harris
Raghav Mangal
Mabyn White
Parth Jha
Shivansh Joshi
Devansh Kapadia
Nacy Thomas
Tejas Jain
Nadene Moore
Abhay Grover
Vinod Kaur
Rahul Dhar
Badon Carter
Agustin Mitchell
Alabama Perez
Cabel Turner
Prem Dixit
Alana Phillips

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