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A debt of a ship for hospitalization of a seafarer may cause the arrest of the ship

June 2, 2021
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The Assuta Medical Center sought to order the arrest of a Panama flag bulk carrier after the ship failed to pay medical expenses for the treatment of the ship's chief engineer.

The Maritime Court accepted the motion and held that the ship is to be arrested and will be released only against deposit of the sum of ILS 800,000. Under Israeli law one is entitled to a maritime lien on a vessel for payments claimed by a captain, seafarers and others that served on the vessel, due to the employment by the vessel, by their heirs and assigns, either by agreement, by damages under torts or under any other manner. Here, the chief engineer’s work contract stipulated that the ship is to pay for his medical treatment and thus the medical center is deemed to be an assignee of the chief engineer for the right to receive payment of medical fees. Thus, the medical bill debt entitled the medical center to a maritime lien in a manner that justifies the arrest of the ship.