Act XXXI of 2019, enacted on the 6th of December 2019, effected several amendments to the procedure of execution of the 'Warrant of Arrest of Sea Vessels'. Accordingly, article 856 of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure (the "COCP") was amended to include the appointment of a person, who is tasked with the responsibility of effecting service of a copy of the warrant of arrest on the vessel or master thereof (or any other person in charge of the vessel) (the "Nominated Person").

The Nominated Person is selected by the party applying to the court for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, and the applicant is also required to agree with the Nominated Person on the remuneration to be paid directly to the Nominated Person.

The Nominated Person's engagement shall consist of boarding the vessel with an official copy of the warrant of arrest in order to serve that copy on the vessel's highest-ranking officer (typically the Master). The Nominated Person is to explain that the vessel is under arrest and demand the handing over of certain documentation and certification pertaining to the vessel, unless already deposited in court.

Notwithstanding such amendments, the Executive Officers of the Maltese Courts shall remain responsible for affecting service on local authorities and local agents, including the Authority for Transport in Malta ("TM").

Further to these amendments, as detailed above, forms 32 and 33 of Schedule B to the COCP were substituted by new forms.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.