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Maritime claims: gangway to ship arrest: a case study of South Africa and Nigeria.

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The arrest of a ship cannot be granted in any court exercising its admiralty jurisdiction if the claimant/plaintiff cannot ascertain that he/she has a maritime claim. Arresting a ship is a unique concept. A maritime claimant who has a maritime claim against a ship could only arrest in an action in rem in a circumstance where the plaintiff can show that he/she has a maritime lien or can show that the owner of the vessel would be liable in personam (i.e. a statutory lien). However, there is more complication to what maritime claims entail in different countries of the world. Most shipping jurisdictions have adopted the International Convention on the Arrest of Sea-going Vessels 1952 definition and outline of maritime claims. However, some maritime claims under the 1952 Arrest convention differ in interpretation when used in the national court. On this note, the curial question is what type of maritime claims constitute maritime liens because the recognized maritime liens differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Thus, Nigeria and South Africa as former colonies of Britain have adopted relevant principles from the English admiralty law. Africa’s seaports are seen as the gateways for Africa growing a thriving international trade business. However, there is a lack of literature comparing two African jurisdictions to each other. On this note, due to the underutilized and understudied legal systems in Africa, it is paramount to compare and understand what constitute maritime claims in both countries and how they are being interpreted.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.