A lawyer will have to draft an arrest petition and submit it to the competent court (the Rotterdam is always competent). This is an ex-parte procedure, meaning that the debtor will not be informed or heard. The claimant has the obligation to inform the court fully in respect of its claim and the debtor’s defences, accompanied by the relevant documents. The lawyer does not need a power of attorney.


Nor is it necessary to provide original documents or have them legalized/notarized. Copies will suffice. For example, in case of unpaid invoices the court will need copies of the contract, invoices and relevant correspondence. If the documents are in English, German or French, a translation is not required.


If the court grants permission to arrest the vessel, the arrest petition will be returned with the stamp of the court and signature of the judge. It will then be handed over to the bailiff, who will board the vessel and effectuate the arrest by serving the documents upon the master or posting them on the bridge. The bailiff will also inform the port authorities.


Along with the permission to arrest the vessel, the court will determine a time frame within which the claimant must start court or arbitration proceedings against the debtor. Usually a period of two weeks is granted, counting from the day the arrest is made. If the main proceedings are not started within this time frame, the arrest will become null and void.


Dutch courts do not require the claimant to provide counter-security. However, the debtor does have the possibility of demanding counter-security in injunction proceedings.

Release from and lifting of the arrest (click here)