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International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages 1993, Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, from 19 April to 6 May 1993

United Nations (UN)

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Rights: Copyright ©  1993 United Nations (UN)


International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages 1993

Article 1 - Recognition and enforcement of mortgages, "hypothèques" and charges

Article 2 - Ranking and effects of mortgages, "hypothèques" and charges

Article 3 - Change of ownership or registration

Article 4 - Maritime liens

Article 5 - Priority of maritime liens

Article 6 - Other maritime liens

Article 7 - Rights of retention

Article 8 - Characteristics of maritime liens

Article 9 - Extinction of maritime liens because of time

Article 10 - Assignment and subrogation

Article 11 - Notice of forced sale

Article 12 - Effects of forced sale

Article 13 - Scope of application

Article 14 - Communication between States Parties

Article 15 - Conflict of conventions

Article 16 - Temporary change of flag

Article 17 - Depositary

Article 18 - Signature, ratification, acceptance, approval and accession

Article 19 - Entry into force

Article 20 - Revision and amendment

Article 21 - Denunciation

Article 22 - Languages

Annex - International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages, 1993


The States Parties to this Convention,

Conscious of the need to improve conditions for ship financing and the development of national merchant fleets,

Recognizing the desirability of international uniformity in the field of maritime liens and mortgages, and therefore

Convinced of the necessity for an international legal instrument governing maritime liens and mortgages,

Have decided to conclude a Convention for this purpose and have therefore agreed as follows:

Mortgages, "hypothèques" and registrable charges of the same nature, which registrable charges of the same nature will be referred to hereinafter as "charges" effected on seagoing vessels shall be recognized and enforceable in States Parties provided that:

(a) such mortgages, "hypothèques" and charges have been effected and registered in accordance with the law of the State in which the vessel is registered;

(b) the register and any instruments required to be deposited with the registrar in accordance with the law of the State in which the vessel is registered are open to public inspection, and that extracts from the register and copies of such instruments are obtainable from the registrar; and

(c) either the register or any instruments referred to in subparagraph (b) specifies at least the name and address of the person in whose favour the mortgage, "hypothèque" or charge has been effected or that it has been issued to bearer, the maximum amount secured, if that is a requirement of the law of the State of registration or if that amount is specified in the instrument creating the mortgage, "hypothèque" or charge, and the date and other particulars which, according to the law of the State of registration, determine the ranking in relation to other registered mortgages, "hypothèques" and charges.

The ranking of registered mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges as between themselves and, without prejudice to the provisions of this Convention, their effect in regard to third parties shall be determined by the law of the State of registration; however, without prejudice to the provisions of this Convention, all matters relating to the procedure of enforcement shall be regulated by the law of the State where enforcement takes place.

1. With the exception of the cases provided for in articles 11 and 12, in all other cases that entail the deregistration of the vessel from the register of a State Party, such State Party shall not permit the owner to deregister the vessel unless all registered mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges are previously deleted or the written consent of all holders of such mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges is obtained. However, where the deregistration of the vessel is obligatory in accordance with the law of a State Party, otherwise than as a result of a voluntary sale, the holders of registered mortgages, "hypotheques" or charges shall be notified of the pending deregistration in order to enable such holders to take appropriate action to protect their interests; unless the holders consent, the deregistration shall not be implemented earlier than after a lapse of a reasonable period of time which shall be not less than three months after the relevant notification to such holders.

2. Without prejudice to article 12, paragraph 5, a vessel which is or has been registered in a State Party shall not be eligible for registration in another State Party unless either:

(a) a certificate has been issued by the former State to the effect that the vessel has been deregistered; or

(b) a certificate has been issued by the former State to the effect that the vessel will be deregistered with immediate effect, at such time as the new registration is effected. The date of deregistration shall be the date of the new registration of the vessel.

1. Each of the following claims against the owner, demise charterer, manager or operator of the vessel shall be secured by a maritime lien on the vessel:

(a) claims for wages and other sums due to the master, officers and other members of the vessel's complement in respect of their employment on the vessel, including costs of repatriation and social insurance contributions payable on their behalf;

(b) claims in respect of loss of life or personal injury occurring, whether on land or on water, in direct connection with the operation of the vessel;

(c) claims for reward for the salvage of the vessel;

(d) claims for port. canal. and other waterway dues and pilotage dues;

(e) claims based on tort arising out of physical loss or damage caused by the operation of the vessel other than loss of or damage to cargo, containers and passengers' effects carried on the vessel.

2. No maritime lien shall attach to a vessel to secure claims as set out in subparaghraphs (b) and (e) of paragraph 1 which arise out of or result from:

(a) damage in connection with the carriage of oil or other hazardous or noxious substances by sea for which compensation is payable to the claimants pursuant to international conventions or national law providing for strict liability and compulsory insurance or other means of securing the claims; or

(b) the radioactive properties or a combination of radioactive properties with toxic, explosive or other hazardous properties of nuclear fuel or of radioactive products or waste.

1. The maritime liens set out in article 4 shall take priority over registered mortgages, "hypothèques" and charges, and no other claim shall take priority over such maritime liens or over such mortgages, "hypotheques" or charges which comply with the requirements of article 1, except as provided in paragraphs 3 and 4 of article 12.

2. The maritime liens set out in article 4 shall rank in the order listed, provided however that maritime liens securing claims for reward for the salvage of the vessel shall take priority over all other maritime liens which have attached to the vessel prior to the time when the operations giving rise to the said liens were performed.

3. The maritime liens set out in each of subparagraphs (a), (b), (d) and (e) of paragraph 1 of article 4 shall rank pari passu as between themselves.

4. The maritime liens securing claims for reward for the salvage of the vessel shall rank in the inverse order of the time when the claims secured thereby accrued. Such claims shall be deemed to have accrued on the date on which each salvage operation was terminated.

Each State Party may, under its law, grant other maritime liens on a vessel to secure claims other than those referred to in article 4, against the owner, demise charterer, manager or operator of the vessel, provided that such liens:

(a) shall be subject to the provisions of articles 8, 10 and 12;

(b) shall be extinguished

(i) after a period of 6 months. from the time when the claims secured thereby arose unless, prior to the expiry of such period, the vessel has been arrested or seized, such arrest or seizure leading to a forced sale; or

(ii) at the end of a period of 60 days following a sale to a bona fide purchaser of the vessel, such period to commence on the date on which the sale is registered in accordance with the law of the State in which the vessel is registered following the sale;

whichever period expires first; and

(c) shall rank after the maritime liens set out in article 4 and also after registered mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges which comply with the provisions of article 1.

1. Each State Party may grant under its law a right of retention in respect of a vessel in the possession of either:

(a) a shipbuilder, to secure claims for the building of the vessel; or

(b) a shiprepairer, to secure claims for repair, including reconstruction of the vessel, effected during such possession.

2. Such right of retention shall be extinguished when the vessel ceases to be in the possession of the shipbuilder or shiprepairer, otherwise than in consequence of an arrest or seizure.

Subject to the provisions of article 12, the maritime liens follow the vessel, notwithstanding any change of ownership or of registration or of flag.

1. The maritime liens set out in article 4 shall be extinguished after a period of one year unless, prior to the expiry of such period, the vessel has been arrested or seized, such arrest or seizure leading to a forced sale.

2. The one-year period referred to in paragraph 1 shall commence:

(a) with respect to the maritime lien set out in article 4, paragraph 1(a), upon the claimant's discharge from the vessel;

(b) with respect to the maritime liens set out in article 4, paragraph 1 (b) to (e), when the claims secured thereby arise;

and shall not be subject to suspension or interruption , provided, however, that time shall not run during the period that the arrest or seizure of the vessel is not permitted by law.

1. The assignment of or subrogation to a claim secured by a maritime lien entails the simultaneous assignment of or subrogation to such a maritime lien.

2. Claimants holding maritime liens may not be subrogated to the compensation payable to the owner of the vessel under an insurance contract.

1. Prior to the forced sale of a vessel in a State Party, the competent authority in such State Party shall ensure that notice in accordance with this article is provided to:

(a) the authority in charge of the register in the State of registration;

(b) all holders of registered mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges which have not been issued to bearer;

(c) all holders of registered mortgages. "hypotheques" or charges issued to bearer and all holders of the maritime liens set out in article 4, provided that the competent authority conducting the forced sale receives notice of their respective claims; and

(d) the registered owner of the vessel

2. Such notice shall be provided at least 30 days prior to the forced sale and shall contain either:

(a) the time and place of the forced sale and such particulars concerning the forced sale or the proceedings leading to the forced sale as the authority in a State Party conducting the proceedings shall determine is sufficient to protect the interests of persons entitled to notice; or,

(b) if the time and place of the forced sale cannot be determined with certainty, the approximate time and anticipated place of the forced sale and such particulars concerning the forced sale as the authority in a State Party conducting the proceedings shall determine is sufficient to protect the interests of persons entitled to notice.

If notice is provided in accordance with subparagraph (b), additional notice of the actual time and place of the forced sale shall be provided when known but, in any event, not less than seven days prior to the forced sale.

3. The notice specified in paragraph 2 of this article shall be in writing and either given by registered mail, or given by any electronic or other appropriate means which provide confirmation of receipt, to the persons interested as specified in paragraph 1, if known. In addition, the notice shall be given by press announcement in the State where the forced sale is conducted and, if deemed appropriate by the authority conducting the forced sale, in other publications.

1. In the event of the forced sale of the vessel in a State Party, all registered mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges, except those assumed by the purchaser with the consent of the holders, and all liens and other encumbrances of whatsoever nature, shall cease to attach to the vessel, provided that:

(a) at the time of the sale, the vessel is in the area of the jurisdiction of such State; and

(b) the sale has been effected in accordance with the law of the said State and the provisions of article 11 and this article.

2. The costs and expenses arising out of the arrest or seizure and subsequent sale of the vessel shall be paid first out of the proceeds of sale. Such costs and expenses include, inter alia, the costs for the upkeep of the vessel and the crew as well as wages, other sums and costs referred to in article 4, paragraph 1 (a), incurred from the time of arrest or seizure. The balance of the proceeds shall be distributed in accordance with the provisions of this Convention, to the extent necessary to satisfy the respective claims. Upon satisfaction of all claimants the residue of the proceeds, if any, shall be paid to the owner and it shall be freely transferable.

3. A State Party may provide in its law that in the event of the forced, sale of a stranded or sunken vessel following its removal by a public authority in the interest of sate navigation or the protection of the marine environment, the costs of such removal shall be paid out of the proceeds of the sales, before all other claims secured by a maritime lien on the vessel.

4. It at the time of the forced sale the vessel is in the possession of a shipbuilder or of a shiprepairer who under the law of the State Party in which the sale takes place enjoys a right of retention, such shipbuilder or shiprepairer must surrender possession of the vessel to the purchaser but is entitled to obtain satisfaction of his claim out of the proceeds of sale after the satisfaction of the claims of holders of maritime liens mentioned in article 4.

5. When a vessel registered in a State Party has been the object of a forced sale in any State Party, the competent authority shall, at the request of the purchaser, issue a certificate to the effect that the vessel is sold free of all registered mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges, except those assumed by the purchaser, and of all liens and other encumbrances, provided that the requirements set out in paragraph 1 (a) and (b) have been complied with. Upon production of such certificate, the registrar shall be bound to delete all registered mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges except those assumed by the purchaser, and to register the vessel in the name of the purchaser or to issue a certificate of deregistration for the purpose of new registration, as the case may be.

6. States Parties shall ensure that any proceeds of a forced sale are actually available and freely transferable.

1. Unless otherwise provided in this Convention, its provisions shall apply to all seagoing vessels registered in a State Party or in a State which is not a State Party, provided that the latter's vessels are subject to the jurisdiction of the State Party.

2. Nothing in this Convention shall create any rights in, or enable any rights to be enforced against, any vessel owned or operated by a State and used only on Government non-commercial service.

For the purpose of articles 3, 11 and 12, the competent authorities of the States Parties shall be authorized to correspond directly between themselves.

Nothing in this Convention shall affect the application of any international convention providing for limitation of liability or of national legislation giving effect thereto.

If a se seagoing vessel registered in one State is permitted to fly temporarily the flag of another State, the following shall apply:

(a) For the purposes of this article, references in this Convention to the "State in which the vessel is registered" or to the "State of registration" shall be deemed to be references to the State in which the vessel was registered immediately prior to the change of flag, and references to "the authority in charge of the register" shall be deemed to be references to the authority in charge of the register in that State.

(b) The law of the State of registration shall be determinative for the purpose of recognition of registered mortgages, "hypothèques" and charges.

(c) The State of registration shall require a cross-reference entry in its register specifying the State whose Rag the vessel is permitted to fly temporarily; likewise, the State whose flag the vessel is permitted to fly temporarily shall require that the authority in charge of the vessel's record specifies by a cross-reference in the record the State of registration.

(d) No State Party shall permit a vessel registered in that State to fly temporarily the flag of another State unless all registered mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges on that vessel have been previously satisfied or the written consent of the holders of all such mortgages, "hypothèques" or charges has been obtained.

(e) The notice referred to in article 11 shall be given also to the competent authority in charge of the vessel's record in the State whose flag the vessel is permitted to fly temporarily.

(f) Upon production of the certificate of deregistration referred to in article 12 paragraph 5, the competent authority in charge of the vessel's record in the State whose flag the vessel is permitted to fly temporarily shall, at the request of the purchaser, issue a certificate to the effect that the right to fly the flag of that State is revoked.

(g) Nothing in this Convention is to be understood to impose any obligation on States Parties to permit foreign vessels to fly temporarily their flag or national vessels to fly temporarily a foreign flag.

This Convention shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

1. This Convention shall be open for signature by any State at the Headquarters of the United Nations, New York, from 1 September 1993 to 31 August 1994 and shall thereafter remain open for accession.

2. States may express their consent to be bound by this Convention by:

(a) signature without reservation as to ratification. acceptance or approval; or

(b) signature subject to ratification, acceptance or approval, followed by ratification, acceptance or approval; or

(c) accession.

3. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument to that effect with the depositary.

1. This Convention shall enter into force 6 months following the date on which 10 States have expressed their consent to be bound by it.

2. For a State which expresses its consent to be bound by this Convention after the conditions for entry into force thereof have been met, such consent shall take effect 3 months after the date of expression of such consent.

1. A conference of States Parties for the purpose of revising or amending this Convention shall be convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the request of one-third of the States Parties.

2. Any consent to be bound by this Convention, expressed after the date of entry into force of an amendment to this Convention, shall be deemed to apply to the Convention. as amended

1. This Convention may be denounced by any State Party at any time after the date on which this Convention enters into force for that State.

2. Denunciation shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of denunciation with the depositary.

3. A denunciation shall take effect one year, or such longer period as may be specified in the instrument of denunciation, after the receipt of the instrument of denunciation by the depositary.

This Convention is established in a single original in the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish languages, each text being equally authentic.

DONE AT Geneva this sixth day of May, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-three.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned being duly authorized by their respective Governments for that purpose have signed this Convention.

On the Final Act of the United Nations / International Maritime Organization Conference of Plenipotentiaries on a Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages

1. The General Assembly of the United Nations, by resolution 46/213 of 20 December 1991, decided that a United Nations/International Maritime Organization Conference of Plenipotentiaries on a Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages should be convened in order to consider a draft convention and to embody the results of its work in a convention on maritime liens and mortgages.

2. The United Nations/International Maritime Organization Conference of Plenipotentiaries on a Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages, was convened at Geneva from 19 April to 6 May 1993.

3. Representatives from the following States participated in the Conference: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.

4. Hong Kong, an associate member of the International Maritime Organization, was represented by an observer.

5. The following specialized agencies were represented by an observer: International Labour Organisation, World Meteorological Organization.

6. The following intergovernmental organizations were represented by an observer: European Economic Community, League of Arab States, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Organization of African Unity.

7. The following non-governmental organizations were represented by an observer: Association of African Shipping Lines, Baltic and International Maritime Council, Iberoamerican Institute of Maritime Law, International Association of Ports and Harbours, International Chamber of Commerce, International Chamber of Shipping, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, International Maritime Committee, International Ship Suppliers Association, Latin American Association of Navigational Law and Law of the Sea.

8. The following committees were established by the Conference:

General Committee President: Mr. Walter Müller (Switzerland) Vice-Presidents: Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Indonesia, Liberia and Poland. Chairman of the Main Committee: Mr. G.G. Ivanov (Russian Federation) Rapporteur-General: Mr. Domingo Nicolas Rotondaro (Argentina).

Main Committee

Chairman: Mr. G.G. Ivanov (Russian Federation) Vice-Chairman-cum-Rapporteur: Mr. J.E. de Boer (Netherlands)

Drafting Committee

Chairman: Mrs. B. Czerwenka (Germany) Core membership: Algeria, Argentina, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Spain, Russian Federation, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America.

Credentials Committee

Chairman: Mr. Daniel D.C. Don Nanjira (Kenya) Members: Argentina, Australia, China, Ghana, India, Kenya, Russian Federation, United States of America and Venezuela.

9. The secretariat of the Conference included the following officers: Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Mr. K.K.S. Dadzie; Secretary-General of IMO, Mr. W.A. O'Neil; the Executive Secretary, Mr. A. Bouayad, Director, Services Development Division, UNCTAD, and subsequently Mr. R. Vogel, Deputy Director, UNCTAD; the Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr. E.M. Göransson, Director, Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, IMO; Mrs. Monica N. Mbanefo, Senior Deputy Director, IMO; Mr. Agustin Blanco-Bazan, Senior Legal Officer, IMO; Ms. L. Young, Administrative Officer, IMO; Mr. R. Vigil, Chief, Maritime Legislation Section, UNCTAD; Ms. M. Faghfouri, Legal Affairs Officer, UNCTAD; Mr. Carlos Moreno, Legal Affairs Officer, UNCTAD; Mr. E. Chrispeels, Senior Legal Officer, UNCTAD; Mr. A. Behnam, Secretary of the Conference, UNCTAD.

10. The Conference had before it, as a basis for its work, the draft articles for a Convention on maritime liens and mortgages , prepared by the Joint UNCTAD/IMO Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Maritime Liens and Mortgages and Related Subjects, and the compilation of comments and proposals by Governments, and by intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, on the draft convention on maritime liens and mortgages . The Conference adopted its rules of procedure and its agenda .

11. On the basis of its deliberations as recorded in its report , the Conference established the text of the INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON MARITIME LIENS AND MORTGAGES, 1993.

12. The Conference adopted on 6 May 1993 resolution entitled "The Consideration of a Possible Review of the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to the Arrest of Sea-going Ships, 1952".

13. The text of the Convention was adopted by the Conference on 6 May 1993. The Convention will be open for signature at United Nations Headquarters, New York, from 1 September 1993 to and including 31 August 1994.

Done at Geneva, on this sixth day of May, one thousand nine hundred and ninetythree, in one original in the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish languages, all texts being equally authentic. The original of the Final Act shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations Secretariat.

W. Müller President of the Conference

K.K.S. Dadzie Secretary-General of UNCTAD

W.A. O'Neil Secretary-General of IMO

R. Vogel Executive Secretary of the Conference

E.M. Göransson Deputy Executive Secretary of the Conference

A. Behnam Secretary of the Conference

E. Chrispeels Senior Legal Officer

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned representatives have signed this Final Act.

The States whose representatives signed the Final Act are: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, and Venezuela.


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