On the 18th of December 2019, legislative changes were introduced within Malta’s legal framework with the aim of enhancing the procedures for the arrest of a vessel in Malta. The said changes effectively enable privately-engaged bailiffs to formally serve a warrant of arrest on ships that are in Maltese territorial waters, departing from the traditional rule that previously mandated that the service of warrants of arrest must necessarily be effected by a Court Marshall.
The changes effectively enable privately-engaged bailiffs to formally serve a warrant of arrest on ships that are in Maltese territorial waters
In practice, the procedural changes effectively enable a creditor to engage a private bailiff to physically serve upon and notify the warrant of arrest to a ship’s Master and proceed to seize its papers in order to lodge the same in Court, subject to the prior notification and identification of such private bailiff to the Court.
As such, the enhanced procedure is anticipated to add a degree of flexibility to the arrest of ships (particularly in facilitating such arrests in difficult weather conditions) whilst ensuring appropriate coordination between privately-engaged bailiffs and Court officials to ensure that the entire arrest procedure remains subject to Court scrutiny.