Encouraging international support for improvement to maritime laws

Representatives from 58 countries discuss recognition of judicial sales

Representatives from 58 countries were in Malta on Tuesday to discuss an important step forward for the international maritime industry: the recognition of judicial sales.

The meeting was organised by the Comité Maritime International (CMI) and co-hosted by the Transport Ministry. The CMI is a non-governmental non-profit organisation which contributes to the unification of maritime law in all its aspects.

This issue was first brought to the attention of CMI by Henry Li of the China Maritime Law Association in 2007, who highlighted the problems arising around the world from the failure in some jurisdictions to give recognition to judgments in other jurisdictions when the sale of ships had been ordered.

In 2014, the International Working Group concluded its work with a draft instrument, and the CMI is hopeful that UNCITRAL will agree to put it on its work agenda when it meets in July 2018. The instrument will be called the Malta Colloquium.

Addressing the meeting, Transport Minister Ian Borg said Malta was often the jurisdiction of choice when it comes to arresting vessels and proceeding to enforce rights against ships, which often leads to judicial sales or court approved private sales.

“Malta has a responsibility pertaining to the interests of all stakeholders, including that of the financiers who have registered their mortgages in the country,” he said.

In 2006, Malta’s introduced a mechanism to increase the remedies that could be used by creditors against defaulting debtors, that is the sale of vessels approved by court. This created a procedure that best suited the mortgagee, while giving peace of mind as well as a solid and stable environment.

“Naturally, it is crucial to ensure that vessels get the best price during such sales, and this can only be achieved by obtaining the comfort of international recognition of the judicial sale, a comfort which can only come about through the adoption and implementation of an international standard,” he explained.

CMI President Stuart Hetherington said that thanks to the Maltese government a multitude of countries were being represented during this colloquium.

Source: Times of Malta

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