ICLG - International Comparative Legal Guide

1        Marine Casualty

1.1       In the event of a collision, grounding or other major casualty, what are the key provisions that will impact upon the liability and response of interested parties? In particular, the relevant law / conventions in force in relation to:

(i) Collision

The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (COLREGS) have been adopted into the Israeli Law under the domestic Ports Regulations (Preventing Collisions at Sea) 1977.

(ii) Pollution

Israel is a signatory party to the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution, 1978 and re-affirmed its updated version as the “Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, 1995”.  In addition, Israel

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(iii) Salvage / general average

Under the Salvage Fee and Lost Merchandise Order of 1926, anyone who provides aid to a distressed or grounded vessel or helps to save the lives of people on board is entitled to a fair payment for those services, which should be paid by either the owners of the ship or the salvaged cargo.  If no understanding is reached, the parties will refer to arbitration.  The Israeli Law, either by clause 42 (5) of the Shipping Act (Vessels) 1960, or clause 9 of the Admiralty Courts Act 1861 (which also governs the Israeli Admiralty Court’s authority) recognises the maritime lien for salvage.  In addition, the English Marine Insurance Act 1906 is also part of the Israeli Law and the Israeli Courts will consider customary law or foreign judgments when dealing in such matters. 

(iv) Wreck removal

The law relating to a distressed vessel, wrecks and lost merchandise is governed by the Salvage Fee and Lost Merchandise Order of 1926.  Under this Order, whoever finds lost merchandise or discovers any wreck must inform the receiver of wrecks at the Authority for Shipping and Ports of the Ministry of Transportation, who will publish a notice about the finding of the same and serve a copy of the notice to Lloyd’s agent in Israel or to Lloyd’s offices in London.  If the merchandise or the wreck is not claimed within six months, it will be sold by the Receiver of the Wreck and the balance from the sale after deducting the salvage fee and expenses will be applied by the Minister of Treasury as part of the national income.

(v) Limitation of liability

Israel adopted the International Convention Relating to the Limitation of Liability of Owners of Sea-going Ships, Brussels 10th October 1957 and its amending Protocol, Brussels 1979, as part of the Shipping Act (Limitation of Liability of Sea-going Ships) 1965. 

(vi)       The limitation fund

Following the orders of the above-mentioned Act, the owners can apply to the Maritime Court for the establishing of a Limitation Fund.  If the Court is satisfied with the owner’s application, it will order the establishment of the Limitation Fund and will give orders as to the owner’s deposit and the publishing of notices to creditors.  Creditor’s claims or participation claims are to be filed by a local creditor within 30 days.  In the case of a foreign creditor, claims must be filed within 60 days.

1.2       Which authority investigates maritime casualties in your jurisdiction?

As a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) since 1952, Israel conducts its Port State Control Inspections through the Ports and Shipping Authority.  Besides regular safety controls, the Authority conducts investigations in matters of grounding and pollution and marine accidents.

1.3       What are the authorities’ powers of investigation / casualty response in the event of a collision, grounding or other major casualty?

Following Chapter 12 of the Ports Regulations (Safety of Navigations), 1982, the Manager of Authority is authorised to conduct investigations in relation to any marine accident that took place in the Israeli marine territories.  The investigation authorities include the examination of witnesses, collecting documents and evidence, and examination of the place where the event took place.  The investigation will be concluded in a report detailing the sequence of events leading to the accident, the investigator’s observations and conclusions in relation to the circumstances and causes of the accident, and recommendations for amending the deficiencies which were observed in relation to the accident.  The purpose of the investigations is to learn the circumstances that caused the accident in order to learn the relevant lessons and avoid future accidents.

Under folio no. 67484-03-19, Harris & Co. Maritime Law Offices represented the cargo interests of the cargo carried in M/V Diana (2018), which was grounded offshore of Haifa Bay on 19th January 2018, and applied to receive the documents and evidence collected by the Authority when investigating this marine accident, for the purpose of the arbitration proceedings taking place in London against the owners.  In its judgment handed on 10th June 2020 at the Haifa District Court, the Honourable Judge Mr. Ron Sokol held that although they are foreign entities, the cargo interests are entitled under the Israeli Freedom of Information Act 1998, to receive the RCC communications that took place between the vessel and the RCC prior to the grounding which was annexed to the Authorities Report.  As the Application was narrowed to these documents at this stage, the Court’s findings left a path to apply for additional documents and information (including the whole report which was provided with blank parts) following a future arbitral award in this regard and the Israeli Arbitration Act.

2        Cargo Claims

2.1       What are the international conventions and national laws relevant to marine cargo claims?

The Israeli Law adopts the Hague-Visby Rules as part of the Ordinance for the Carriage of Goods by Sea, as amended on 21st January 1992.

2.2       What are the key principles applicable to cargo claims brought against the carrier?

According to the Ordinance for the Carriage of Goods by Sea, as amended on 21st January 1992, the Hague-Visby Rules will apply to any Bill of Lading (B/L) which governs the sea carriage of cargo: from any Israeli port; from a port of a country which is a party to either the Hague or Hague-Visby Rules; or when the B/L incorporates the Hague-Visby Rules or is governed by the laws of a country that applies the Rules.  Accordingly, the claimant should file its claim within one year of the date of discharging the cargo or of the date it should have been discharged (Article III 6); the claim is subject to the owner’s limitation of liability to either 666.67 SDR per package or unit or to 2 SDR per 1kg of the cargo lost or damaged, according to the highest of the two (Article VI (5)(a)).  The damage caused to the cargo should be a result of the owner’s failure to exercise due diligence at the beginning of the voyage to make the vessel sea worthy and properly manned and equipped (Article III (1)(a)–(c)/Article IV (1)) or due to perils of the sea or any other cause not arising without actual fault or privity of the carrier or without the fault or neglect of the agents or servants of the owner (Article IV (2) (a)–(q)).

2.3       In what circumstances may the carrier establish claims against the shipper relating to misdeclaration of cargo?

Following the Hague-Visby Rules (Article III (5)) and general principles of Contract and Torts Law, a shipper’s failure to provide the accurate marks, numbers, quantity and weight of the cargo will impose on the shipper the liability to compensate the owners for any damages and expenses which will occur as a result of such an inaccuracy.  Under the Israeli Law of Torts, “damage” is also defined as any inconvenience, and although the claimant must prove its damages, the Courts are authorised to award payment of compensation also by Court estimations.

2.4       How do time limits operate in relation to maritime cargo claims in your jurisdiction?

Under the Supreme Court’s judgment in folio no. 6260/97 “Polska”, it was held that the wording “unless suit is brought within one year…” of Article III 6 of the Hague-Visby Rules is wide enough to contain a suit which was filed in foreign jurisdiction.  Accordingly, a claim filed in Israel 12 months after the delivery date of the goods will not be time-barred if a claim was filed during the 12-month period in a foreign jurisdiction.  In the matter of claim in rem 30100-10-10 MV Eleftheria, the Haifa Maritime Court held that the claiming underwriter can add the insured as an additional claimant even if the one-year limitation period has elapsed, reasoning that the underwriter’s claim was filed within the one-year time-bar period and that the owners of the vessel are irrelevant to the entity suing them.  In its decision handed in folio no. 7195-18, the Supreme Court overturned the judgments of the two lower instances and held that the phase “suit is brought” is narrowed to a suit filed by an entity who has the right to sue.  Therefore, a suit which, if filed within the 12-month period but without any right of standing on behalf of the claimant, will not “break” the time-bar period and, in such case, a claim which will be filed later by a different entity could not rely on the claim which was filed previously without a title to sue, and, if filed 12 months after the delivery date, it would be considered time-barred.

3        Passenger Claims

3.1       What are the key provisions applicable to the resolution of maritime passenger claims?

Israel is not a party to the Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and Their Luggage by Sea, 1974.  Therefore, passenger’s claims will be governed by general Contract and Tort Law and the general law relating to law and jurisdiction clauses.  The Israeli law, under the Shipping Act 1960, recognises the maritime lien for the amount due as compensation for death and injuries to the vessel’s passengers.

3.2       What are the international conventions and national laws relevant to passenger claims?

See question 3.1 above.  Passenger claims will be filed and handled under regular civil procedure but might be subject to law and jurisdiction clauses in the carrier’s terms and conditions; the amount due as compensation for death or injury of a passenger can be enforced as a maritime lien.

3.3       How do time limits operate in relation to passenger claims in your jurisdiction?

See questions 3.1 and 3.2 above.  If accepting and enforcing the foreign law and jurisdiction clause would mean that the passenger’s claim would be time-barred in the referred jurisdiction, the Court would have the discretion not to enforce the (contractual) law and jurisdiction clause on the grounds of enforcement causing injustice (following clause 3 (4) of the Contract’s Act (Remedies due for Brach of the Contract) 1973).  Therefore, in practice, it seems probable that the ordinary civil law time limit of seven years will operate when claims are filed by Israeli passengers.  The maritime lien expires one year from the date of the injury/casualty.

4        Arrest and Security

4.1       What are the options available to a party seeking to obtain security for a maritime claim against a vessel owner and the applicable procedure?

The Israeli Maritime Law is established by two sets of rules; in fact, the Israeli Maritime Law is a legacy of the British Mandate over Palestine-Israel which took place formally between December 1917 and May 1948.  By a King’s-Order-in-Council dated 2nd February 1937, the Supreme Court of Jerusalem was constituted as a Maritime Court under the Colonial Courts Admiralty Act 1890.  On the date when the Colonial Courts Admiralty Act was enacted, the relevant acts of Admiralty which were in force were the Admiralty Acts of 1840 and 1861.  These continue to apply to the Israeli Haifa Maritime Court’s (being a division of the Haifa District Court) jurisdiction up to this present date.  The other rule which governs the Haifa Maritime Court authority is the Israeli Shipping Act 1960, Chapters IV and V, which relate to maritime liens and mortgages, respectively, and adopt the continental maritime lien regime of the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Maritime Liens and Mortgages 1926 (Brussels Convention 1926).  These two sets of rules continue to apply to date and can provide a claimant with a variety of maritime liens which might arise either from the Admiralty Act of 1840, Admiralty Act of 1861, or the Shipping Act 1960, clauses 40–41 (1)–(8).  The list of recognised maritime liens includes, inter alia, the following: (1) the costs of the Court’s auction sale of an arrested vessel; (2) port dues of all kinds and other payments for such port services insofar as these payments are due either to the state, to another state or authority, or have been paid to them by a third party; (3) the cost of the preservation of an arrested vessel (from the date of its entry to the port and until its sale by the Court); (4) wages; (5) salvage; (6) compensations for death or injuries of passengers; (7) compensations for damages caused as a result of a collision at sea or any other navigation accident, or for damages done by a vessel to port facilities and indemnities for loss or damage to cargo or to passengers’ baggage; and (8) payments due for the supply of necessaries.  However, in the matter of M/V Ellen Hudig (2004), the Haifa Maritime Court denied a maritime lien for “indemnities for loss or damage to baggage”, reasoning that: the alleged damage of additional expenses and freight payments related to the discharge of claimants’ cargo from an arrested vessel; its completing the voyage by a different vessel as a result of the vessel’s arrest by the crew claiming unpaid damages and losses; and the owner’s subsequent appearance before a Belgian Court under bankruptcy proceedings, do not fall under the owner’s personal liability.  Ever since, the Ellen Hudig matter has been cited by the Haifa Maritime Court as authority establishing the need to show owner’s liability in order to have the Court recognise a maritime lien.  Accordingly, in the matter of M/V Nissos Rodos (2016), it was held that the local agent who paid the port dues for the 17 calls of the vessel at Haifa Port, which called at Haifa Port under an agreement between the owners and another party acting as an operator, is not entitled to the maritime lien for “port dues of any kind […] been paid by a third party”, reasoning that the agent had no agreement with the owners and that there was no personal liability on behalf of the owner to pay the agent where the commercial relations were between the owners and the operator and between the operator and the agent, and not between the owners and the agent, directly.  On the other hand, in the matter of folio no. 22358-02-14 M/V Captain Hurry (2016), although in this case there was a dismissal of a supplier’s claim due to a lack of owner’s liability, the Haifa Maritime Court mentioned that the maritime liens differ from each other and that, for example, the maritime lien for salvage exists even if the owners are not liable for the circumstances that led the vessel to distress.  Therefore, a path to diversity in relation to the requirement of owner’s liability might exist.

4.2       Is it possible for a bunker supplier (whether physical and/or contractual) to arrest a vessel for a claim relating to bunkers supplied by them to that vessel?

The Maritime Court will recognise a maritime lien for necessaries such as bunkers, provided that the claimant is the contractual supplier who contracted in the supply agreement either with the owners directly or its agent or a management company acting on behalf of the owner.  However, if the actual supplier is not a party to a supply agreement concluded with the owner or anyone acting on behalf of the owner, the actual supply of the necessaries might be found not to be sufficient and the claim will probably be denied.  In the matter of M/V Emmanuel Tomasus (2014), the physical supplier’s claim was denied, the reason being that the claimant was not a party to the supply agreement and that the owners had paid the contractual supplier, and by effecting this payment the maritime lien was lifted, although the contractual supplier did not pay its subcontractor, the physical supplier.

4.3       Is it possible to arrest a vessel for claims arising from contracts for the sale and purchase of a ship?

Under clause 8 of the Admiralty Court Act, the Maritime Court has jurisdiction to decide all questions arising between co-owners and others, touching on ownership, possession and the earning of any ship registered at any port in England or Wales (now Israel), and may direct the said ship to be sold.  However, in practice this authority has not been tested, and it seems that in any case the above authorities will apply to domestic vessels registered in Israel, rather than applying to any vessels that call at an Israeli port.

4.4       Where security is sought from a party other than the vessel owner (or demise charterer) for a maritime claim, including exercise of liens over cargo, what options are available?

When the vessel is arrested by the Maritime Court, the arrest order states the amount that must be deposited or secured within the Court in order to have the vessel released.  If no such deposit takes place and no notice of appearance against the claim is filed within seven days of service of the claim in rem and arrest order, the Court may order the judicial sale of the arrested vessel.  However, the depositing of the security and countering of the claim is not limited to the owners and any party with an interest can appear before the Court and counter the claim.

4.5       In relation to maritime claims, what form of security is acceptable; for example, bank guarantee, P&I letter of undertaking.

A P&I letter of undertaking can be accepted as a security, provided that the club itself is a respected/reputed club which will be able to pay the secured amount.  An Israeli bank’s guarantee will be accepted; however, it is likely that a guarantee from a foreign bank will be rejected.  The security should almost be equal to a deposit within the Court, and if a foreign bank is involved, the claimant will be requested to have his foreign bank reach the required arrangements with an Israeli bank so that the latter will issue the bank guarantee and deposit it with the Court.

4.6       Is it standard procedure for the court to order the provision of counter security where an arrest is granted?

No.  Usually, no counter security is required.  The Haifa Maritime Court has continuously held that usually there is no justification to put procedural thresholds before creditors seeking enforcement of their maritime liens and only in exceptional occasions will a counter security be demanded for the arrest.  Such occasions could be, for example, where the validity of the documents constituting the lien is doubted, or when the documents and the supply of necessaries are not questioned but the existence of owner’s liability of the debt and, as a result the existence of maritime lien for necessaries, is questioned.  Also, the nature and ranking of the lien would be considered.  In the matter of Captain Hurry, a deposit of US$ 12,500 was required as counter security for an arrest securing a claim of US$ 315,763 for bunkers delivery, which was ultimately denied.

4.7       How are maritime assets preserved during a period of arrest?

If a “notice of appearance” is filed within seven days after the arrest, the vessel will not go under auction and its assets will continue to be under its owner’s liability.  If no such notice is filed, a liquidator will be nominated by the Court who can also be authorised for a relatively quick judicial sale of the vessel.  Costs for preservation of the vessel from the date of its entry to its latest port (and until its sale) (and even if the entry took place before the arrest itself) are recognised marine lien, top-ranked at third position after costs of selling of the vessel and port dues, and before the crew’s and master’s wages.

4.8       What is the test for wrongful arrest of a vessel? What remedies are available to a vessel owner who suffers financial or other loss as a result of a wrongful arrest of his vessel?

The Israeli law recognises, as a general rule, the entitlement of the defendant to recover from the claimant the damages and losses caused as a result of a temporary relief order issued by the Court to secure a claim (such as attachment orders), following an application filed by the claimant, and under circumstances where eventually the claim was denied or the claimant has withdrawn its claim (Supreme Court’s judgments in civil appeal 732/80 Arens v. Bait-El, civil appeal 2399/19).  However, a matter of a wrongful (ship) arrest has not yet been decided by the Haifa Maritime Court.  Considering the unique nature of a ship arrest, when applying the above-mentioned general rule, most likely the Haifa Maritime Court will refer to the traditional “Evengelismos Test” (1858) as a customary/indicative law.  In the Singapore Court of Appeal judgment in the matter of “Vasily Golovnin” [2008] SGCA 39, it was held that considering the arrest of the vessel provides security for the maritime claim which cannot be defeated by the insolvency and that in today’s modern world there is no difficulty of furnishing for example a letter of undertaking from a P & I club to secure the release of the vessel, although being enunciated more than 150 years ago and despite the conceptual difficulties and the criticism, the Evangelismos test should be maintained.  However, the Singapore Court of Appeal held that the focus should be on the second part of the test and it would be an objective inquiry of the circumstances and the evidence available at the time of the arrest that will determine if the action and the arrest were so unwarrantably brought, or brought with so little colour, or so little foundation, as to imply that they were brought with malice or gross negligence.  This means that if a vessel owner will be able to prove that the claim and arrest were brought with so little foundation, he will most likely be able to claim damages occurred as a result of the arrest from the claimant.  However, due to the fact that usually no security is required from the claimant when applying for the arrest, an owner’s claim for wrongful arrest will not be secured.

5        Evidence

5.1       What steps can be taken (and when) to preserve or obtain access to evidence in relation to maritime claims including any available procedures for the preservation of physical evidence, examination of witnesses or pre-action disclosure?

The Maritime Court is authorised under Article 96 of the Admiralty Regulations to order that any witness who cannot conveniently attend the trial shall be examined previously thereto, before either the judge or the registrar.  Also, according to Article 171 of the Israeli Civil Procedure Regulations 1984, the Court can order an immediate testimony hearing of a witness who is about to exit Israel, or on other grounds, provided there is a reasonable justification in the view of the Court to order this.  Under Article 387 (a) of the Israeli Civil Procedure Regulations 1984, the Court is authorised to nominate a temporary receiver to search, photocopy, copy and take possession of assets located at the Respondent’s premises (interpreted to mean places under the Respondent’s control) if there is prima facie evidence that the Respondent or any person on his behalf is about to remove the assets or destroy them in a manner which will harm the legal process.  Accordingly, in the case of Diana, the Maritime Court ordered for the immediate visit and examination of the vessel being subject to a cargo interest claim for indemnities due to damage caused to the cargo after the vessel could not maintain its position and drifted ashore and grounded.  The Court also ordered the Chief Engineer to provide an immediate answer to a questionnaire or else appear immediately in Court to be examined, following which, after the provision of a P&I letter of undertaking, the vessel was released from the arrest and towed to a repair yard in Turkey.

5.2       What are the general disclosure obligations in court proceedings? What are the disclosure obligations of parties to maritime disputes in court proceedings?

The disclosure should be of any document and information where it is reasonable to presume that they include information which allows a party, either directly or non-directly, to promote the matter which is subject to the claim.  Accordingly, the disclosure is of greater significance than admissibility, and a document can be subject to disclosure even if it is not admissible as evidence at Court.

5.3       How is the electronic discovery and preservation of evidence dealt with?

There is no specific procedure for electronic discovery.  The discovery of electronic correspondence or documents will be examined in view of the above-mentioned general rule as mentioned in question 5.2 above.  However, the Court is authorised as an immediate temporary relief to nominate a temporary liquidator with an authority to enter premises and either preserve and obtain assets, including documents, or to have a copy of these.

6        Procedure

6.1       Describe the typical procedure and timescale applicable to maritime claims conducted through: i) national courts (including any specialised maritime or commercial courts); ii) arbitration (including specialist arbitral bodies); and iii) mediation / alternative dispute resolution.

6.1.1 Which national courts deal with maritime claims?

The Haifa Maritime Court situated at the Haifa District Court has received, under the Maritime Court Act of 1952, the Supreme Court’s authorities to act as a Maritime Court.  As the Haifa Maritime Court is the Israeli Maritime Court, it governs the whole Israeli jurisdiction.

6.1.2 Which specialist arbitral bodies deal with maritime disputes in your jurisdiction?

There are no specialised maritime arbitral bodies.  As mentioned above, maritime matters are all filed before the Haifa Maritime Court.  Cargo claims are usually handled before Civil Court judges at the Haifa and Tel-Aviv Magistrate Courts.  Matters can be referred to mediation or arbitration, subject to the parties’ consent or under an arbitration agreement.

6.1.3 Which specialist alternative dispute resolution bodies deal with maritime mediation in your jurisdiction?

There is no special body.  See question 6.1.2 above.

6.2       What are the principal advantages of using the national courts, arbitral institutions and other ADR bodies in your jurisdiction?

Due to the fact that maritime matters and cargo claims are usually referred to experienced judges, the Courts are very professional and efficient in either deciding the cases or referring the parties to mediation or promoting a settlement, as appropriate.  The Haifa Maritime Court is very quick in issuing Arrest Orders or Attachments and all of the above-mentioned Courts have what is called a “tolerant judicial temper”.

6.3       Highlight any notable pros and cons related to your jurisdiction that any potential party should bear in mind.

From our experience, the Haifa Maritime Court will provide remedies to a claimant or owner, even if registered and domiciled in countries that do not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel.  Harris & Co. Maritime Law Offices were able to arrest vessels and enforce maritime liens in favour of a bunker supplier located in Dubai and, in another matter, to protect the owner’s interests in a tanker registered in the Libyan registry.

7        Foreign Judgments and Awards

7.1       Summarise the key provisions and applicable procedures affecting the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.

Under the Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, an Israeli Court is authorised to enforce a foreign judgment, provided that the judgment was handled by an authorised Court, it is not appealable and its contents are not contradictory to public policy (Article 3 (1)–(4)).  If the Courts handling the foreign judgment do not, under their domestic law, enforce Israeli judgments, then the foreign judgment will be enforced by an Israeli Court, only if so requested by the Attorney General (Article 4 (a)–(b)).  In addition, under Article 13, the Minister of Justice is authorised to enact regulations relating to the enforcement of judgments according to specific enforcing and recognition agreements between the State of Israel and foreign countries.  For example, the Treaty between Israel and Germany 1997 (which came into force in January 1981) and the Convention between the governments of Israel and of the United Kingdom, for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil matters, signed in London in 1970.  In the case of Captain Hurry, the Maritime Court recognised a German declaratory judgment, declaring that the owners were not liable for any payment for the bunkers claimed by the claimant, and as a result the claim was dismissed.

Pursuant to clauses 16 (a) and 39 A of the Arbitration Act 1968, a district court is authorised to order supportive remedies such as attachments and restraining orders to secure arbitration proceedings taking place in foreign jurisdictions.  Under folio no. 59972-07-19, M/V Aquis Perls and M/V Mare Zen, the Haifa District Court’s orders on attachments on the local defendant’s arrests to secure a London arbitration in relation to unpaid hire were successfully obtained.

7.2       Summarise the key provisions and applicable procedures affecting the recognition and enforcement of arbitration awards.

Israel has joined the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards.  Under the Regulations for the Performing of the New York Convention (Foreign Arbitration) 1978, the District Courts are authorised to enforce a foreign arbitral award, provided that the applicant will present the Court with a verified copy of the award and of the arbitration agreement.  In addition, under Articles 5 and 6 of the Arbitration Act 1968, the District Court will order a stay of proceedings where the matter in dispute is subject to an arbitration agreement (or arbitration clause in the contract) and if the arbitration is subject to any international convention that was joined by Israel, the proceedings will be stayed according to the rules relating to stay of proceedings which appear in the Convention.

8        Updates and Developments

8.1       Describe any other issues not considered above that may be worthy of note, together with any current trends or likely future developments that may be of interest.

In the matters of M/V Estelle (2014), M/V Marianne (2016), M/V Zaytouna-Oliva (2019), M/V Freedom, and M/V Kaarstein (2021), the Haifa Maritime Court held that it was authorised to act as a Prize Court and to order the confiscation of vessels attempting to breach the naval blockade imposed on Gaza.

In the matter of M/V Huriye Ana (2017), the Maritime Court held that Israeli Law had no authority to order a sister-ship arrest as no such authority can be found either in the Admiralty Acts of 1840 and 1861 or in the Shipping Act 1960.  However, in the matter of M/V OSOGOVO (2021), while denying a supplier’s arrest application for necessaries supplied to a sister-ship vessel of the subject supplied vessel, the Haifa Maritime Court mentioned that it does not deny the possibility of extending, under “judicial legislation”, the causes for “sister-ship arrest”, leaving a path for applying to such an arrest by using, for example, the legal principles of lifting the corporate veil.

Under folio no. 59972-07-19 (2019), the Haifa Maritime Court held that it was authorised to order attachments to secure a foreign arbitration (London) in relation to unpaid hire, following the Israeli Arbitration Act and with no need to enquire whether English Arbitration Law does or does not allow attaching the defendant’s assets to secure an arbitration award.

In the matter of M/V CHRYSOPIGI (2019), the Haifa Maritime Court held that marine insurance is not subject to the Israeli Insurance Act and that, therefore, a foreign marine insurer has recognised subrogation rights which provide him with standing to file a claim in the Israeli Courts, although it is not an “insurer” as defined under the Israeli Insurance Act.  This decision was affirmed by the  Supreme Court in appeal no. 8518/19.

In the matter of Diana as detailed above, the Haifa District Court held that foreign cargo interests have a right under the Israeli Freedom of Information Act to receive documents collected by the Authority conducting the investigation of the reasons for the grounding of the vessel at Haifa Bay, and ordered that the Authority will provide the RCC communications between the vessel and the Authority.

In the matter of M/V BADAR (2020), the Haifa Maritime Court held that a vessel registered under a foreign registration cannot be registered under the Israeli registration unless properly removed from its former registration, even if a writ ownership award was issued by an Authority.  At this stage, as an immediate relief, the Court ordered an attachment on the Israeli registration of the vessel and thereafter scheduled the matter for filing affidavits and for hearings.

In the matter of Vapi Kredi Banaski vs. M/V Hurriye Ana (2020) the Haifa Maritime Court denied a bank’s claim to enforce a mortgage which was registered in the vessel’s registration.  The Court held that the validity of the loan agreement was not proven and that no information was provided in relation to the payment schedule agreed with the debtor and what was the exact amount of debt that remained.  The mere fact that a mortgage is registered in the vessel’s registration is not enough to have it enforced.

In the matter of M/V MORAZ (2021) the Haifa Maritime Court accepted that the costs of medical treatment provided by a local hospital to a crew member who became ill with COVID-19, constitute the recognised maritime lien for “payments claimed by the captain, crew and others who serves on board arising out of their employment in the vessel […]”.

The Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Full Normalisation Between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel, followed by normalisation agreements with Bahrain, strengthens the strategic location of Israel and the Israeli ports, and an increase in the volume of trade and transport between Israel and the Gulf States is expected.  The Haifa Maritime Court exercised its authority in favour of either a bunker supplier located in Dubai (arresting the M/V Huseyn Javid for unpaid bunkers) or owners of a vessel registered in the Libyan registration (disputing the validity of Israeli registration of the M/V BADR. Persian Gulf and other Middle East claimants and interests can find the Haifa Maritime Court and other Israeli courts a favourable jurisdiction.

Adv. Yoav Harris
shipping Law 2022
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