Dated: December 8, 2022

The Maritime Law Association of the United States is pleased to report that the General Assembly of the United Nations has just adopted the United Nations Convention on the International Effects of Judicial Sales of Vessels.  The development of this Convention began with a working group of the Comite Maritime International in 2008, resulting in the Draft Convention for the Recognition of Foreign Judicial Sales, approved by CMI in 2014 at its Hamburg Meeting.  That draft was taken up for further consideration by The United Nations Committee on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and referred to its Working Group VI in 2018.  Working Group VI conducted extensive negotiations over the past 4 years in New York, Vienna, and remotely during the Pandemic, resulting in the Convention just adopted.  The US MLA has actively supported this effort since its inception with the CMI, led by MLA’s Past President Francis X. Nolan III, who also served as the legal advisor and a delegate to the United States delegation to UNCITRAL over the course of this entire period.  The adopted Convention, known as the “Beijing Convention,” is expected to harmonize, clarify and reinforce the rights of innocent purchasers of foreclosed vessels sold at judicial sale, thereby supporting higher foreclosure sales prices and greater proceeds available to ship creditors of the foreclosed vessel.  Barbara Holland, current President of the MLA, noted that a number of MLA members are also currently involved in reviewing the Convention to see how its provisions might best be implemented through US law. This exercise is being led by MLA’s Practice and Procedure Committee Chair, Kirby Aarsheim.