These disputes shall be mainly related to the arrest of ships in the Libyan seaports. Parties involved in shipping disputes shall use the Libyan courts as a venue to force a settlement without resorting to litigation.
The Libyan Law and the Arrest of Ships
Libya is not a signatory to the International Convention relating to the Arrest of Seagoing Ships of 1952, however, a ship in Libyan territorial waters could be arrested as a property owned by a debtor.
In general, the Libyan law grants the Libyan courts original jurisdiction to hear a case brought against non-Libyan. Article 3 (2) of the Civil and Commercial Procedures Law gives the Libyan courts power to hear and decide a case involving property located in Libya.
Since international law and Libyan law consider the water surrounding Libya as a part of that country’s territory, accordingly, a vessel located in the Libya's territorial water will be subject to the original jurisdiction of the Libyan courts.
Another applicable rule to arrest a ship is to commence proceedings to secure claim. According to Article 516 (1) of the Civil and Commercial Procedures Law, a claim can be filed in a Libyan court against a property located in Libya even when the owner is a non-resident of Libya. Concerning a ship arrest, a ship located within the territorial waters of Libya will be subject to arrest despite the non-residency of the owner.
Here, we must draw a distinction between an arrest order obtained in the enforcement of priority rights conferred by a maritime lien and a prejudgment attachment or prejudgment writ of attachment as it is known in the United States of America. Prejudgment attachment under the Libyan law is a provisional remedy to preserve the status quo until the court issues a final judgment. It is mainly the seizure of the ship temporarily.