Marine Insurance

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The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017, also known as the Indian Admiralty Act 2017, came into force in India on the 1st of April 2018.

Who forms the basis of Admiralty law?

  1. The Admiralty Court Act, of 1840
  2.  The Admiralty Court Act, of 1861
  3.  The Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890.
  4.  The Colonial Courts of Admiralty (India) Act, 1891
  5.  The provisions of the Letters Patent, 1865

The Admiralty Act, of 2017 has repealed and replaced the above-mentioned laws. This act was a long-awaited legislation to set out the rules and practices for enforcing Maritime Claims and Liens, as well as arrests, in India. It also incorporates the principles of International Conventions into Indian law.

The Admiralty Act of 2017 contains 18 sections, divided into four chapters:

Background of the Admiralty Act 2017

As we mentioned that Admiralty act repeals the archaic laws, which have been applicable in India. Until now, the High Courts of Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta have been vesting and exercising the admiralty jurisdiction. However, with the act 2017, this jurisdiction is now extended to all coastal state high courts in India, including Karnataka, Telangana and Odisha.

In addition, the High Courts in each state now have jurisdiction over vessels found within their state waters, regardless of the place of residence or domicile of the owner. This means that an Indian vessel was arrested in India for enforcement or recovery of a maritime claim.

The Admiralty Act helps ensure that Indian laws are in line with international conventions and provides a process for adjudicating maritime claims, securing them, and arresting vessels as necessary. This act aligns Indian law with the International Conventions for Arrest of Ships, 1952 and 1999, as well as the International Convention
on Maritime Liens, 1993.

Maritime Claims

The Admiralty Act 2017 sets out a list of maritime claims similar to Article 1 of the international convention on the Arrest of Ships, 1999. The High Courts can exercise jurisdiction on maritime claims. It includes the issues such as vessel possession or ownership, co-owners disputes about employment or earnings of the vessel, mortgages or charges on a vessel, construction, repair, or conversion of the vessel, environmental loss or damage caused by the vessel, salvage services, etc.

Additional Read: What is the Marine Insurance Act 1963? 

Maritime lien

It is a type of claim against the owner of the vessel that exists regardless of any change of ownership, or flag, for one year after the change, or registration. These liens do not exist on vessels that are sold by an order of the Court.

Section 9 of the Admiralty Act, 2017 enumerates the categories of maritime liens specified as follows: –

  1. Loss of Life or Personal Injury claims
  2.  The reward for salvage services
  3.  Wages for an employment claim
  4.  Port, canal and many other waterways dues. Along with this, pilotage and
    statutory dues.
  5.  Tort claims for the loss or damage due to the operation of the vessel

Admiralty Jurisdiction

The Act gives the Central Government the power to extend the jurisdiction of any other High Court by notification. However, each court only has jurisdiction over the territorial waters of its respective state. This can cause problems because it’s not always clear where a state’s territorial waters end. This is an issue that should be addressed by the Courts at a later point in time.


This new Indian Admiralty Act 2017 has repealed the various archaic British laws, which were governing maritime relations and claims in India. Also, any judgment, decree, or order passed by a single judge of the high court is appealable to a division bench of the high court. And the central government shall appoint a list of assessors who will assist the
the judge in determining rates and claims in admiralty proceedings.

To know more about Maritime claims and for any other information about Marine Insurance, log on to SecureNow and get an online comparison of insurance quotes.

About The Author


MBA Insurance and Risk

With extensive experience in the insurance industry, Simran is a seasoned writer specializing in articles on marine insurance for SecureNow. Drawing from 5 years of expertise in the field, she possesses a comprehensive understanding of the complexities and nuances of marine insurance policies. Her articles offer valuable insights into various aspects of marine insurance, including cargo protection, hull insurance, and liability coverage for marine-related risks. Renowned for their insightful analysis and informative content, Simran is committed to providing readers with actionable information that helps them navigate the intricacies of marine insurance with confidence.