SHIP ARREST IN CAMEROON

Ship arrest in Cameroon is governed by The CEMAC Merchant Shipping Community Code of 3rd august 2001 as amended on 22nd August 2012, and the Brussels convention of 1952 on the unification of certain rules on the arrest of a ship. Ship arrest and detention in Cameroon is subject to certain conditions and these conditions determine the procedure for ship arrest in Cameroon.

The associated ship arrest jurisdiction, the procedure for ship arrest in Cameroon and the reasons for ship arrest in Cameroon are determined by the CEMAC Code.

CONDITIONS FOR SHIP ARREST

A. Type of claims

Section 149 of the CEMAC Code and Section 1 of the Bruxelles convention have established the maritime debts which can give rise to ship arrest in Cameroon. They include but are not limited to;

  1. Loss or damages caused by the exploitation of the vessel;
  2. Death or corporal injuries arising, onshore or offshore, in direct relation with the exploitation of the ship;
  3.  Operations of rescue or assistance, as well as all contracts of rescue or assistance, including, as the case may be, for special indemnity concerning operations of rescue or assistance to a ship which, by itself or by its cargo, was running the risk of causing damage to the environment;
  4. Damages caused or likely to be caused by the ship to the environment, to the coast or to connected interests; measures taken to prevent, reduce or eliminate the damages; indemnity for these damages; the cost of reasonable measures to repair which was effectively taken or to be taken ;
    Losses suffered or likely to be suffered by third parties in relation to these damages; and damages, costs or losses of a similar nature to those which are indicated in this item

B. Conditions relating to the shipowner and the ship

According to the CEMAC code, a ship arrest in Cameroon can be arrested provided it is the ship to which the claim relates or any other ship owned by the owner at the time the claim arose.

1. The vessel/ship to which a claim is related, or arrest “in-rem”.

According to the said code, an arrest order can be executed either on the vessel to which the claim relates, or any other vessel belonging to the owner at the time when the maritime claim originated, the vessel of the owner to which the claim emanates.

Thus, in terms of the CEMAC code and the Bruxelles convention, an action against a ship is an action in rem.

Also, an arrest can be executed even when ownership of the same vessel has been transferred by the initial owner. This simply necessitates that the debt to be recovered must be linked to the concerned vessel.

2. The ship-owners fleet to which the claim relates is the security of creditors.

Article 144 (1) of the CEMAC Code provides that the creditor may engage a ship arrest in Cameroon any vessel belonging to the owner at the time when the maritime claim arose, the shipowner which the claim relates, This provision highlights a cumulative application of the concepts, action in rem and in personam.

II- The rules of procedure for Ship arrest in Cameroon

The stating of the competent jurisdiction and the means of the arrest is prior to the presentation of the applicable measures of execution.

A. The method of Ship arrest in Cameroon

Pursuant to the provisions of Article 150 of the CEMAC Code, the proceedings are commenced by way of an application.

Prior to the filing of the application, it is imperative to request the approval of the competent maritime authority, which in Cameroon is the MOT based in Yaoundé.

B. The competent courts

The competent judge in Cameroon is the President of the Court of First Instance, with the emphasis that this country has three ports including the Kribi Deep Seaport in the South region, Douala Sea Port in the Littoral region and Limbe in the South West region.

At K&P firm we accompany our clients seeking redress against debtors to engage the Ship arrest in Cameroon, obtain the writ of execution, engage the competent process server and engage the formalities for the sale of the vessel as the circumstance of the case may demand.