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 joined
MARPOL in 1983 and has re-affirmed Annexes 1, 2, 3 and 5.
(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.
In the matter of MV Moraz (2022) the Haifa Maritime
Court denied an Owner’s application to set a limitation
fund which would limit its liability to damages caused as
a result of an oil leakage which leaked while the vessel
was bunkered near Haifa Port. The Court held that the
nature of the damages, which were a contamination of
the port’s facilities, should be considered as “damages to
harbour works, basins and navigation ways” which appear
in Article 1 (c) of the Brussels Convention 1957, and as
such, are excluded by the above-mentioned Shipping Act
which orders in clause 2 that the orders of the Convention
will have the force of law, except for clause 1 (c) of the
Convention. Therefore, due to the exclusion, the incident
and the damages cannot be subject to a limitation
fund. The Court also held that the incident resulted from
an actual fault or privity of the owners through its local
operators which did not instruct the vessel crew properly
and did not provide them with the required instructions
for bunkering operations and did not supervise the crew’s
qualifications. Therefore, also for this reason, the owners
were not entitled to set a limitation found.
1.2 Which authority investigates maritime casualties in
As a member of the International Maritime Organization (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 that were observed in relation to the accident.
The purpose of the investigation 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, we have represented the cargo
interests of the cargo carried in M/V Diana, 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 that 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.
In the matter of M/V Stellar Pacific, the death of the third
officer on board the vessel while being berthed outside Ashdod
Port was investigated both by the Authority and Ashdod Police
and their findings were submitted to us acting on behalf of the
widow and two daughters and were presented before the Haifa
Maritime Court as part of the pleadings and evidence on behalf
of the claimants.
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
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
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 that 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 M/V 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 Shipping Act 1960, clause 40–41 (6) 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 Breach 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, unless if at the end of that year the
vessel is not calling at an Israeli port. In such circumstances,
the one-year expiry period will begin upon the vessel’s arrival to
an Israeli port, provided, that in any case, the maritime lien will
expire within three years after 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 1861, 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 vesselsregistered in Israel, rather than applying to any foreign vessels
that call at an Israeli port. The Shipping Act 1960 does not
recognise a maritime lien for claims arising out of contract for
sale and purchase of a ship, therefore it is doubted if it will be
possible to arrest a foreign vessel calling in an Israeli port for
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
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 placebefore the arrest itself) are recognised marine liens, 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 vs
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”  SGCA 39, it was
held that considering the arrest of the vessel provides security for
the maritime claim which cannot be defeated by 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 whether 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.
5.1 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
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 M/V 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 became grounded. The
Court also ordered the Chief Engineer to provide immediate
answers to a questionnaire or else, to appear immediately in
Court to be examined. Eventually, the Chief Engineer provided
his answers in a written Affidavit, which was provided one day
before he and the vessel left by towing for repairs in Turkey,
and which otherwise might not have been provided during the
London arbitration proceedings.
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 that 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.
6.1 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
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 ADR 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. We 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
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
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
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 Offshore Wind and Renewable Energy
8.1 What is the attitude of your jurisdiction concerning
the maritime aspects of offshore wind or other
renewable energy initiatives? For example, does your
jurisdiction have any public funding programme for
vessels used in offshore wind? Summarise any notable
The rights for establishing artificial installations and structures
for exploiting the natural resources in the exclusive economic
zone of a coastal state are recognised under Article 56 of the
UNCLOS (United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea).
Although Israel is not a signatory party to the UNCLOS under
the Israeli law, the State of Israel seems itself as obliged to the
orders of the UNCLOS relating to the maritime zones, as these
are part of the customary international law which applies in the
Israeli law, as there is no contrary Israeli legislation. In fact,
the State of Israel exercises its economic rights in its exclusive
economic zone (EEZ) especially by searching drilling and transferring
natural gas from the seabed and subsoil. In December
2010, Israel and Cyprus reached an agreement for the delimitation
of the EEZ of each of the two countries. Twelve years
later, in October 2022, in the UN base in Naqura the Israeli and
Lebanon delegations delivered the signatures on the Israel-Lebanon
Maritime Border Agreement, demarcating the maritime
boundary line between the countries.
By entering these agreements, Israel’s EEZ area and boundaries
have been set and recognised providing a venue for additional
offshore activities, including winds or other renewable
Currently, Israeli wind warms are located inland, for example,
in the Golan Heights and Mount Gilboa. However, the possibility
for establishing an offshore wind farm exists.
8.2 Do the cabotage laws of your jurisdiction impact
offshore wind farm construction?
If an offshore farm construction is built, the maritime transportation
of equipment and personal will be subject to the Costal
Shipping Act (Permission to a Foreign Vessel), 2005, which
requires that such a navigation is subject to a licence which is
provided by the Authority of Shipping and Ports which will
regulate, through the licence orders, matters such as safety, environment
and minimum employment of Israeli seafarers, unless
an exemption from this requirement is provided.
9 Updates and Developments
9.1 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
In the matter of M/V Estelle (2014), quoting its authorities under
the Colonial Court’s Act of 1890 and the Naval Prize Act 1864,
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 this matter,
due to the fact that the Israeli navy did not promptly bring the
matter to adjudication, the vessel was released by the Court. In
the further matters of M/V Marianne (2016), M/V Zaytouna-Oliva
(2019), M/V Freedom and M/V Kaarstein (2021), the Haifa Maritime
Court was promptly brought to adjudication, and the Court
ordered the confiscation and judicial sale of these vessels and
of the transferring of the amounts received from the sale to the
state of Israel.
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 a similar matter – civil claim 31521-01-20 Nobel Vs. Zim –
the Haifa District Court ordered that the act of subrogation is not
related to the manner in which an insurer handles its insurance
agreements, and accordingly, the act of subrogation is not subject
to the Israeli local regulations and supervisions on insurers.
In the matter of M/V 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 Libyan 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 and ordered on the cancellation
of the registration of the vessel in the Israeli registration
which was done ex parte and by re-naming the vessel as “Miriam
B”. The matter is under appeal before the Supreme Court.
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 serve on board arising out
of their employment in the vessel [...]”.
In the matters of M/V Stellar Pacific (2023), and M/V Astrid L
(2023), where we represented the heirs for seafarers who sadly
lost their life while serving on the vessel, the Haifa Maritime
Court ordered on the payments of compensations in amounts
exceeding the amounts stated in the employment collective
agreements as compensation amounts in case of injury or
death. Although the Court’s judgments were rendered without
reasoning following settlement arrangements, in our opinion
and understanding, the compensations amounts awarded eventually,
reflect Israeli law’s position that a limitation on owner’s
liability for compensation in tortious events and casualties which
occur to a crew member are not within the “public policy” and
therefore will not be enforced.
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 enlarged
the volume of trade and transport between Israel and the Gulf
States. 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.
With regret, we would like to inform readers of the passing of
Adv. John Harris this year. Adv. John founded Harris & Co.
Maritime Law Office and accomplished much in his life and
with the firm. He will be dearly missed.
Adv. John Harris, (1940–2023).