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Vessels Abandoned at a Marina - How do you get rid of them and how do you prevent ever having to deal with them.

I have had several clients lately allow a vessel to dock at their Marina, some without paying up front, and some vessels that are basically worthless.  Either way can be a tremendous headache trying to get the vessel off the Marina’s dock. If the vessel has some value, the Marina owner can always arrest the vessel for the maritime lien of dockage, have the vessel sold, and keep the proceeds. If the vessel has other liens superior to the dockage lien, (such as a mortgage lien) this could be more problematic. If a vessel truly is a piece of junk, there will be little incentive for the owner to continue to make its dockage payments when the monthly dockage payment is more than the value of the vessel.  There is a Florida Statute that allows a Marina owner to put the vessel owner on notice that he reconsiders the vessel to be abandoned, because no payments are being made, then to either have the vessel destroyed and thrown away, or sold. The problem in  trying to sell the vessel, is that the Marina does not have clear title to it. This can be very difficult to get clear title. There is a provision under the Florida laws for a non-judicial sale of the vessel to get title to the vessel. This is outlined in the Florida Statutes.

Unearned Wages - What are they and when are you entitled to them?

Most Seaman to not know what the term on “Unearned Wages” means. It is actually self-explanatory. When a Seaman is injured, he is entitled to maintenance and cure, as well as unearned wages, until the end of his voyage, or the end of his contract, or when he is determined to be “fit for duty” by his doctor. Most Seaman are paid base wages, overtime wages, holiday pay, penalty pay, and vacation pay. All types of wages are added up to go to determine what a  Seaman is entitled to as his unearned wages. For example, if the Seaman was injured on June 1, was taken to the emergency room, was treated by a doctor for the next 2 months, then his doctor gave him a fit for duty slip to go back to work, he would be entitled to 2 months of unearned wages. This assumes that the Seaman’s employment contract did not terminate during those 2 months.  Therefore, the Seaman would determine his total daily wages, by adding up all of the wages listed above, and would receive a check usually every 2 weeks from his employer, while he is unable to work due to an injury, as unearned wages. This will continue until the shorter of his doctor saying he is fit for duty, the Seaman’s contract ends or the voyage ends. Anyone of these events will trigger the end of the unearned wages the Seaman is entitled to.