The plaintiff (creditor) has to commence the action in the court which has jurisdiction over the ship. The plaintiff must submit evidence of the debt owed by the debtor, in this case, the ship owner. The court orders the seizure or attachment of the ship specifically described in the writ by issuing a notice of attachment which will be served to the ship’s master in order to commence the attachment.
The ship will be seized and maintained in the custody of a designated official (guardian). The guardian is usually appointed by the court or the ship's master/crew member to ensure that the ship remains in custody until a final judgment is issued.
Usually, a good legal team will be able solve the issue of a ship's seizure in Libya by arranging the offering of a guarantee, and/or letters of undertaking to the creditor in order to release the ship. As is unusually the final result, further details such as litigation or the sale of the ship by the court is unnecessary for this discussion and left best discussed with a debtor's lawyer, if the need does arise.
Dr. Mohamed Karbal is a New York lawyer and founder of Karbal & Co, a full-service international law firm with offices in Libya and Dubai that serve the needs of businesses and governments in Libya and the United Arab Emirates.