Port Authority Detention


Port Authority Detention of Ship in Spain

Our Maritime Lawyers knows the Public Law on Port Authority Detention of Ships equal or better than the Private one. And this is not an easy task, due to the numerous rules and legal texts that have to handle.

The Royal Legislative Decree 2/2011 (approving the revised text of the Ports of the State and Merchant Marine Act, onwards RLD /2011), is applyed in most cases by the Port Authority, when a vessel is incurred in damages to the port installations (fenders, pier, cranes, etc.).

The port authority detention of ship is carried on by the Director of the port authority as a ‘very provisional measure’, urgency, prior to a sanction file or indemnization proceeding.

Designation of Surveyor and Lawyer

Shipowners and P&I Clubs normally request to its Port Correspondent the appointment of a maritime surveyor. Only in some cases (wrong) the insures name a maritime lawyer to defend their interests. The FD&D insurance cover (Freight, Demurrage and Defence) allows shipowners to appoint a maritime lawyer before the Maritime Authority administrative file.

The Port Authority, in all cases, try to get a liability declaration of the port agent of the ship and from the P&I Club which assures the vessel. Accordingly, the Director fix a sum of money to cover that liability, payable in the bank account of the port. Only when nobody accept this assumption of liability, the money is formally considered as a deposit, not a payment.

Until the sum effectively arrives to the bank account, port services of load/unload are stoped and the vessel stay detained. The law accept bank guarantees, but it can delay the release of the ship.

For this reason, the first assistance to the Master/Captain and his principals, have to be to appoint a Maritime Lawyer. He must represent the shipowner and the P&I Club or, at least, only the first one.

The main task of the Lawyer is to assist the surveyor before and during the development of his report. This important proof, formally done at the very begining of the file, requires all attention to achieve the final purposes.

The administrative file continues after the deposit of the requested amount and the release of the ship.