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5 1989



Brussels Convention on the Arrest of Seagoing Ships

Interpretation of Part I .

1. —In this Part—

Contracting State” means a state in respect of which the Convention is in force in accordance with the provisions of the Convention;

the Convention” means the International Convention relating to the arrest of seagoing ships signed at Brussels on the 10th day of May, 1952.

Interpretation of Convention.

2. —(1) The provisions of this section shall apply for the purpose of interpreting the Convention.

(2) (a) Article 1 (1) (o) shall be construed as including disputes as to possession of a ship.

(b) Article 1 (1) (q) shall be construed as including the mortgage or hypothecation of any share in a ship.

(3) (a) For the purpose of determining under Article 3 (1) or 3 (4) whether a right exists to arrest a ship other than the particular ship in respect of which the maritime claim arose the owner of the other ship shall be taken to be its owner at the time of the issue of proceedings against it.

(b) For the purpose of Article 3 (2) ownership shall be construed as including beneficial ownership.

(4) Unless the context otherwise requires—

master” includes every person (except a pilot) having command or charge of a ship;

salvage” includes a reference to such claims for services rendered in saving life from a ship or in preserving cargo, apparel or wreck as, under sections 544 to 546 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, are authorised to be made in connection with a ship (including in the case of cargo or wreck salvage claims in respect of cargo or wreck found on land).

Contracting States.

3. —(1) The Minister for Foreign Affairs may by order declare—

(a) that any state specified in the order is a Contracting State, or

(b) that a reservation (the text of which shall be set out in the order) has been made pursuant to Article 10 of the Convention, or a declaration (the text of which shall be set out in the order) has been made pursuant to Article 18 of the Convention to the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

(2) An order in force under this section shall, as the case may be, be evidence—

(a) that any state specified in the order is a Contracting State;

(b) that a reservation or declaration set out in the order was made and of its contents.

(3) The Minister for Foreign Affairs may by order amend or revoke an order under this section including an order under this subsection.

Convention to have the force of law.

4. —(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, the Convention shall have the force of law in the State and judicial notice shall be taken of it.

(2) The text of the Convention in the English language is set out for convenience of reference in the First Schedule to this Act.

Jurisdiction of the High Court.

5. —(1) For the purposes of this Act and the Convention the High Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine in admiralty proceedings in rem any of the claims mentioned in Article 1 (1) of the Convention.

(2) For the purposes of the application of the Convention to the State—

(a) the expression “the Court or other appropriate judicial authority” where it occurs in the Convention means the High Court, and

(b) “Courts” in Article 7 (1) means the High Court.

(3) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall deprive the High Court of any jurisdiction to hear and determine a claim connected with ships exercisable by the High Court otherwise than by virtue of this section.

(4) Where the High Court stays, declines or dismisses proceedings referred to in subsection (1) of this section on the ground that the dispute in question should be submitted to arbitration or be determined by the courts of another country the court may order that the ship arrested or, where bail or other security has been given to obtain release from arrest, the said bail or security, be retained for the purposes of satisfying (in part or in whole) any award or judgment which—

(a) is given in respect of the dispute in the arbitration or in the legal proceedings in the other country, and

(b) is enforceable in the State.

(5) Where the court makes an order under subsection (4) of this section it may attach such conditions to the order as it thinks fit, in particular conditions with respect to the institution or prosecution of the relevant arbitration or legal proceedings.

(6) Subject to any provision made by rules of court and to any necessary modifications, the same law and practice shall apply in relation to a ship, or bail or other security, which has been retained in pursuance of an order made by the court under subsection (4) of this section, as would apply if it were held for the purposes of proceedings in that court.

Arrest of State Ships.

6. —Notwithstanding Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention, nothing in the Convention shall modify the rules of law in force in the State at the commencement of this section in regard to the arrest of warships or ships owned by or in the service of a state.


7. —(1) Nothing in this Part—

(a) shall affect section 5 of the Mail Ships Act, 1891 (which protects mail ships from arrest in certain circumstances), or

(b) shall be construed as limiting the jurisdiction of the court to refuse to entertain an action for the possession of a ship or for wages by the master or an officer or member of the crew of a ship that is not an Irish ship.

(2) Nothing in this Part shall affect section 552 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894 (which relates to the power of a receiver of wreck to detain a ship in respect of a salvage claim).