Ships as Property: Maritime Transactions in State and Federal Law

This Article discusses the application of federal and state law to the construction, sale, repair, rebuilding, chartering, and financing of vessels, paying particular attention to the impact of the growing use of the Uniform Commercial Code as a source of federal law where a nonstatutory federal law solution is required. The impact of the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Stewart v. Dutra Construction Co. on transactions involving stationary vessels and marginal craft is discussed. In addition to a review of types of transactions, the manner in which federal and state law apply to various types of maritime property is also discussed, including the leasing and financing of vessel equipment; the relationship between mortgages, maritime liens, and security interests with respect to cargo and freight receivables, as well as the developing case law with respect to the attachment of ship mortgages and maritime liens to fishing rights.