Article 3. Actions Against Vessels of California Harbors And Navigation Code >> Division 3. >> Chapter 2. >> Article 3.
Debts amounting to at least fifty dollars ($50), contracted
for the benefit of vessels, are liens in the cases provided in
Actions for any of the causes specified in Section 491 shall be
brought against the owners by name, if known, but if not known, that
fact shall be stated in the complaint, and the defendants shall be
designated as unknown owners. Other persons having a lien upon the
vessel may be made defendants to the action, the nature and amount of
such lien being stated in the complaint.
All vessels are liable for:
(a) Services rendered on board at the request of, or under
contract with, their respective owners, masters, agents, or
(b) Supplies furnished in this State for their use, at the request
of their respective owners, masters, agents, or consignees.
(c) Work done or materials furnished in this State for their
construction, repair, or equipment.
(d) Their wharfage and anchorage within this State.
(e) Breach of any contract for the transportation of persons or
property between places within this State, made by their respective
owners, masters, agents, or consignees.
(f) Injuries caused by them to persons or property, in this State.
Demands for these several causes constitute liens upon all
vessels, have priority in the order enumerated, and have preference
over all other demands; but such liens only continue in force for the
period of one year from the time the cause of action accrued.
The master of a vessel has a general lien, independent of
possession, upon the vessel and freightage, for advances necessarily
made or liability necessarily incurred by him for the benefit of the
vessel, but he has no lien for wages.
The mate and seamen of a vessel have a general lien,
independent of possession, upon the vessel and freightage, for their
wages, which is superior to every other lien.
The cost of repairing or replacing any buoy or beacon which is
maintained by authority of the United States Bureau of Lighthouses
which may be misplaced, damaged, or destroyed by any vessel being
made fast to it, is, when the cost is legally ascertained, a lien
upon the vessel, and is recoverable against it and its owner.
In any action brought pursuant to the provisions of this
chapter, the complaint shall designate the vessel by name, and shall
be verified by the oath of the plaintiff, or someone on his behalf.
The summons and copy of the complaint shall be served on the
owners if they can be found; otherwise, they may be served on the
master, mate, or person having charge of the vessel.
Notwithstanding Section 483.010 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, the plaintiff, at the time of issuing the summons, or at
any time afterwards, may have the vessel, with its tackle,
appurtenances, appliances, furnishings, and furniture, attached as
security for the satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered
in the action. A writ of attachment may be issued in the manner
provided by Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 485.010) of Title 6.5
of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure without the showing required
by Section 485.010 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The writ shall be directed to the sheriff of the county
within which the vessel lies, or the marshal of the court, and direct
him or her to attach the vessel, with its tackle, appurtenances,
appliances, furnishings, and furniture, and keep the same in his or
her custody until discharged in due course of law.
The sheriff or marshal to whom the writ is directed and
delivered shall execute it without delay, and shall attach and keep
in his or her custody the vessel, named therein, with its tackle,
appurtenances, appliances, furnishings, and furniture, until
discharged in due course of law; but the sheriff or marshal is not
authorized by any such writ to interfere with the discharge of any
merchandise on board of the vessel or with the removal of any trunks
or other property of passengers, or of the captain, mate, seamen,
steward, cook, or other persons employed on board.
The owner, or the master agent, or consignee of the vessel,
may, on behalf of the owner, appear and answer or plead to the action
and may object to the undertaking filed on behalf of the plaintiff.
After the attachment is levied, the owner, or the master,
agent, or consignee of the vessel, may, in behalf of the owner, have
the attachment discharged, upon filing with the court, subject to the
provisions of Section 489.060 of the Code of Civil Procedure, an
undertaking in an amount sufficient to satisfy the demand in the
suit, besides costs. Upon receiving notice of the filing of the
undertaking with the court, the sheriff or marshal shall restore to
the owner, or the master, agent, or consignee of the owner, the
After the appearance in the action of the owner, the
attachment may, on motion, also be discharged in the same manner, and
on like terms and conditions, as attachments in other cases, subject
to the provisions of Section 495.9.
If the attachment is not discharged, and a judgment is
recovered in the action in favor of the plaintiff, and an execution
is issued thereon, the sheriff or marshal shall sell at public
auction, after publication of notice pursuant to Section 6062 of the
Government Code, the vessel, with its tackle, appurtenances,
appliances, furnishings, and furniture, or such interest therein as
may be necessary, and shall apply the proceeds of the sale as
(a) When the action is brought for demands other than the wages of
mariners, boatmen, and others employed in the service of the vessel
sold, to the payment of the amount of those wages, as specified in
(b) To the payment of the judgment and costs, including his or her
The sheriff or marshal shall pay any balance remaining to the
owner, or to the master, agent, or consignee who may have appeared on
behalf of the owner, or if there is no appearance, then into court,
subject to the claim of any party or parties legally entitled
Any mariner, boatman, or other person employed in the
service of the vessel attached, who may wish to assert his or her
claim for wages against the vessel, the attachments being issued for
other demands than those wages, may file an affidavit of his or her
claim, setting forth the amount and the particular service rendered,
with the clerk of the court; and thereafter no attachment can be
discharged upon filing an undertaking, unless the amount of the
claim, or the amount determined as provided in Section 496, is
covered thereby, in addition to the other requirements; and any
execution issued against that vessel, upon judgment recovered
thereafter shall direct the application of the proceeds of any sale:
(a) To the payment of the amount of such claims filed, or the
amount determined, as provided in Section 496, which amount the clerk
shall insert in the writ.
(b) To the payment of the judgment and costs, and sheriff's or
marshal's fees, and shall direct the payment of any balance to the
owner, master, or consignee, who may have appeared in the action; but
if no appearance by them is made therein, it shall direct a deposit
of the balance in court.
If the claim of the mariner, boatman, or other person filed
with the clerk of the court, as provided in Section 495.9, is not
contested within five days after notice of the filing thereof by the
owner, master, agent, or consignee of the vessel against which the
claim is filed, or by any creditor, it shall be deemed admitted; but
if contested, the clerk shall indorse upon the affidavit thereof a
statement that it is contested, and the grounds of the contest, and
shall immediately thereafter order the matter to a single referee for
his determination, or he may hear the proofs and determine the
matter himself. The determination of the clerk or referee may be
reviewed by a court in which the action is pending or a judge thereof
immediately after such determination is made, and the judgment of
the court or judge is final. On the review the court or judge may use
the minutes of the evidence taken by the clerk or referee, or may
take the evidence anew.
The notice of sale published by the sheriff or marshal must
contain a statement of the measurement and tonnage of the vessel and
a general description of her condition.