DISTRICT COURT OF CURAÇAO
Application by a law firm for an attachment of the seagoing vessel 'Wisconsin', sailing under the flag of Togo and located in Curaçao, belonging to IMS, in order to recover fees for legal assistance to the crew of the vessel that has not been paid for by IMS.
Togo and Curaçao are parties to the Arrest Convention of 1952. A vessel flying the flag of a contracting state can only be arrested within the jurisdiction of a contracting state in respect of a maritime claim (Article 2 of the Convention).
The claim for compensation of lawyers' fees is not to be considered a maritime claim within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention. The fact that the assistance provided consisted of contesting a claim of the crew of the vessel in summary proceedings does not give the claim of the attorney at law a maritime character.
An attorney at law is considered a professional assistance provider. The assistance provided did indeed relate to the ship and her crew, but the assistance provided does not concern assistance (in the original English text of the convention: 'salvage') to a ship in need of assistance (article 1 under c of the Convention).