Prompt Release of Vessels and Crews

(a) Application by the flag State or on its behalf

An application for the release of a vessel or its crew from detention may be submitted in accordance with article 292 of the Convention, by any State Party (Rules, article 110, paragraph 1).

The application is made by the flag State of the vessel or on its behalf. For the purpose of an application to be made on its behalf, any State Party may at any time notify the Tribunal of the State authorities competent to authorize persons to make applications on its behalf or the name and address of any person who is authorized to make such application on its behalf (Rules, article 110, paragraphs 1 and 2).

In addition to general requirements applicable to any application, an application under article 292 of the Convention contains a statement of the facts and legal grounds upon which it is based (Rules, article 111). When the application is made on behalf of the flag State, it must meet the specific requirements referred to in article 110, paragraph 3, of the Rules.

(b) Proceedings

The Tribunal must give priority to any other proceedings to applications for release of vessels or crews, in accordance with article 112, paragraph 1, of the Rules.

Upon receipt of the application, it is forthwith transmitted by the Registrar to the detaining State.

A hearing is fixed at the earliest possible date within a period of 15 days commencing with the first working day following the date on which the application is received (Rules, article 112, paragraph 3). The detaining State may submit a statement in response to be filed no later than 96 hours before the hearing (Rules, article 111, paragraph 4). At the hearing, each party is normally accorded one day to present its case (Rules, article 112, paragraph 3).

If requested by the applicant, the application is dealt with by the Chamber of Summary Procedure provided that the detaining State consents to the request within five days of receiving notice of the application (Rules, article 112, paragraph 2).

(c) Judgment and financial security

The decision of the Tribunal is in the form of a judgment and is read at a public sitting to be held not later than 14 days after the closure of the hearing (Rules, article 112, paragraph 4).

If the Tribunal decides that the allegation of the flag State is well-founded, it determines the amount, nature and form of the bond or financial security to be posted for the release of the vessel or the crew (Rules, article 113, paragraph 2). Unless the parties agree otherwise, the Tribunal shall determine whether the bond or other financial security shall be posted with the Registrar or with the detaining State (Rules, article 113, paragraph 3). Guidelines concerning the posting of a bond or other financial security with the Registrar have been adopted by the Tribunal.