The Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases (A.M. No. 19-08-14-SC): Full Text

[In a Resolution dated 17 September 2019 (A.M. No. 19-08-14-SC), the Supreme Court approved The Rules of Procedure for Admiralty. The full text is reproduced below.]

Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases in the Philippines (A.M. No. 19-08-14-SC)


Pursuant to Section 36 of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (Batas Pambansa Bilang 129) and to achieve an expeditious determination of Admiralty cases, the Court resolved to promulgate the following Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases. 



Section 1. Title. – These Rules shall be known as “The Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases.” 

Section 2. Objectives. – The objectives of these Rules are: 

(a)  To provide Regional Trial Courts with a special and summary procedure for Admiralty cases as defined by the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, as amended; 

(b)  To provide parties in Admiralty cases a fast, reliable, and efficient means of recourse to Philippine courts; and 

(c)To enhance the administration of justice in Admiralty cases in the Philippines through the development of judicial expertise. 

Section 3. Definition of Terms. – As used in these Rules, the following definition of terms shall apply: 

(a) Action in rem – an Admiralty action in rem, directed against a specific ship itself or its particular cargo or freight to satisfy the claim of the plaintiff out of the res. 

  • i. Writ of Summons in Action In Rem (writ) – a written command in the name of the court directed against a person in control or possession of the property, or against a ship’s Registry, for the latter to act or abstain from acting in some way (See Annex “A”). 

(b)  Action in personam – an Admiralty action in personam, directed against a natural or juridical person who is the owner, charterer, or other person in possession and/or control of a ship or cargo. 

  • i. Summons in Action In Personam (summons) – a written command in the name of the court directed to defendant to file an answer. 

(c)  Cargo – the load or lading of ship; the goods or merchandise on board a ship to be carried to a certain port. 

(d)  Charter party – a marine contract by which an entire ship or some principal part thereof is let by the owner to another person for a specified time or use; this includes “bareboat” or “demise” charters, “time” charters, and “voyage” or “trip” charters. 

(e)  Freight – the price or compensation paid for the transportation of goods by a carrier, at sea, from port to port. 

(f)  Limitation action – an action by shipowners or other persons under any written law for the limitation of the amount of their liability in connection with a ship or other property. 

(g)  Limitation fund – a guarantee or deposit made by shipowners to meet any damage claim to facilitate the statutory limit of their liability for the negligence of their captains, officers, or such other persons operating the ship. 

(h)  Marine casualty – any damage against third persons which may arise from the conduct of the captain in the care of the goods which the vessel carries, as well as damages caused to persons or to cargo due to a collision through the fault, negligence, or lack of skill of the captain, sailing mate, or any other member of the complement. 

(i)  Maritime lien – legal claim or charge on property, either real or personal, as a collateral or security for the payment of some debt or obligation. It attaches to a property by operation of law and once attached, it follows the property until it is discharged. 

(j)  Protection and Indemnity Club – A non-governmental, non-profit mutual or cooperative association of marine insurance providers to members that consist of shipowners, operators, charterers and seafarers of the member companies. 

(k)  Relevant person – the person who would be liable on the claim in an action in personam. 

(l) Ship – includes any description of a vessel used in navigation including hydrofoil boats, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating crafts, and fixed or floating platforms. 

(m)  Vessel – every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivances used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water, whether under its own means or not; it is generally a more comprehensive term than “ship.” 

(n)  Warrant of Arrest of a Vessel, Cargo, or Freight – court process by which a ship, cargo, or freight is detained or restricted to secure a maritime claim (See Annex “B”). 

Section 4. Applicability. — These Rules shall govern the procedure in civil actions before the designated Admiralty courts involving claims and cases in Admiralty filed on the basis of shipping and other related laws, rules and regulations, such as, but not limited to, the following: 

(a)  The Spanish Code of Commerce of 1888, Book III on Maritime Commerce; 

(b)  An Act on Salvage and Rendering of Assistance to Vessels and Cargoes (Act No. 2616 [1916]); 

(c)  Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (Commonwealth Act No. 65 [1936]);

(d)  New Civil Code of the Philippines, Title VIII, Chapter 3, Section 3 on Common Carriers (Republic Act No. 386 [1949]); 

(e)  Maritime Industry Decree of 1974 (Presidential Decree No. 474 [1974]); 

(f)  Insurance Code, Chapter II, Title I on Marine Insurance (Presidential Decree No. 612 [1974], as amended); 

(g)  Revised Charter of the Philippine Ports Authority (Presidential Decree No. 857 [1975]); 

(h)  Marine Pollution Decree as to Ships (Presidential Decree No. 979 [1976]); 

(i)  Ship Mortgage Decree of 1978 (Presidential Decree No. 1521 [1978]); 

(j)  Philippine Overseas Shipping Development Act (Republic Act No. 7471 [1992]); 

(k)  Domestic Shipping Development Act of 2004 (Republic Act No. 9295 [2004]); 

(l)  Oil Spill Compensation Act of 2007 (Republic Act No. 9483 [2007]); 

(m)  Philippine Coast Guard Law of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9993 [2009]); 

(n)  Single Maritime Administration for STCW (Republic Act No. 10635 [2014]); 

(o)  Liberalization of Cabotage Law (Republic Act No. 10668 [2015]); and 

(p)  Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Law (Republic Act No. 10698 [2015]). 

Likewise, these Rules shall be interpreted and implemented consistently with the international standards and norms used in the international shipping industry, much of the substance of which may be found in the following international conventions and instruments, including their respective annexes and protocols: 

(a)  1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);

(b)  1974 International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and its applicable annexes and protocols; 

(c)  1966 International Convention on Load Lines (LOADLINES); 

(d)  1969 International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships (TONNAGE);

(e)  1978/1995 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW); 

(f)  1973/1978 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); 

(g)  1952 International Convention relating to the Arrest of Sea-going Ships (ARREST); 

(h)  1972 International Convention for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS); and 

(i)  Other conventions of the International Maritime Organization to which the Philippines is a party or signatory. 

Section 5. Admiralty Cases. – In the implementation or enforcement of the above laws, rules and regulations, the Admiralty jurisdiction of the court refers to the jurisdiction to hear and determine any of the following maritime claims: 

(a)  Loss or damage caused by the operation of the ship; 

(b)  Loss of life or personal injury occurring, whether on land or on water, in direct connection with the operation of the ship; 

(c)  Salvage operations or any salvage agreement, including, if applicable, special compensation relating to salvage operations in respect of a ship which, by itself or its cargo, has threatened damage to the environment; 

(d)  Damage or threat of damage caused by the ship to the environment, coastline or related interests, including the carriage of waste, garbage, or pollution as cargo into the Philippines; measures taken to prevent, minimize, or remove such damage; compensation for such damage; costs of reasonable measures of reinstatement of the environment actually undertaken or to be undertaken; loss incurred or likely to be incurred by third parties in connection with such damage; and damage, costs, or loss of a similar nature to those identified in this subparagraph (d); 

(e)  Costs or expenses relating to the raising, removal, recovery, destruction or rendering harmless of a ship which is sunk, wrecked, stranded or abandoned, including anything that is or has been on board such ship, and costs or expenses relating to the preservation of an abandoned ship and maintenance of its crew; 

(f)  Any agreement relating to the use of a ship, including bareboat charter, charter by demise, time charter, voyage charter or contract of affreightment, and maritime contract of carriage, whether of goods or people, including bills of lading; 

(g)  General average; 

(h)  Towage; 

(i)  Pilotage; 

(j) Goods, materials, provisions, bunkers, equipment (including containers) supplied or services rendered to the ship for its operation, management, preservation, or maintenance;

(k) Construction, reconstruction, repair, converting or equipping of the ship; 

(l) Port, canal, dock, harbor and other waterway dues and charges; 

(m) Wages and other sums due to the master, officers and other members of the ship’s complement who are not Filipino citizens, in respect of their employment on the ship, including costs of repatriation and social insurance contributions payable on their behalf, initiated while the vessel is within Philippine jurisdiction; 

(n) Disbursements incurred on behalf of the ship or its owners;

(o) Insurance premiums (including mutual insurance calls) in respect of the ship, payable by or on behalf of the shipowner or demise charterer;

(p) Any commissions, brokerages or agency fees payable in respect of the ship by or on behalf of the shipowner or demise charterer;

(q) Any dispute as to ownership or possession of the ship;

(r) Any dispute between co-owners of the ship as to the employment or earnings of the ship;

(s) A mortgage or a “hypothèque” or a charge of the same nature on the ship; 

(t) Any dispute arising out of a contract for the sale of the ship; and 

(u) Enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards in relation to claims, or judgments and awards rendered under the Admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of a foreign court or arbitral tribunal, and subject to the procedures under Rule 39, Section 48 of the Rules of Court and the requirements of Republic Act No. 9285. 

Provided, that such action, demand or claim shall be filed with the designated first- or second-level Admiralty courts, as the case may be, in accordance with their jurisdictional thresholds, as may be determined by law. In case the action, demand or claim is within the jurisdictional threshold of first-level courts, the case shall be filed before the first-level court and the Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases shall apply. 

Section 6. Actions in rem. – Actions in rem may be filed, even if the ship may be located outside the Philippines, in the following cases: 

(a)  Any claim to the possession or ownership of a ship or any share therein; 

(b)  Any question arising between the co-owners of a ship as to possession, employment, or earnings of that ship, including the settlement of any account outstanding and unsettled between the parties in relation to the ship; 

(c)  Any claim in respect of a mortgage of or charge on a ship or any share therein; 

(d)  Any claim for the attachment, forfeiture or condemnation of a ship, or for the restoration of a ship; 

(e)  Any claim on the basis of a maritime lien or other charge on any ship, or other property for the amount claimed; and 

(f)  Enforcement of an arbitral award or foreign judgment against a ship.  

Section 7. Actions in personam. – At the plaintiff’s option, an action in personam may also be filed where the defendant has his or her habitual residence or place of business in the Philippines, in the following instances: 

(a)  Any claim for damage done/inflicted by a ship; 

(b)  Any claim for damage received/sustained by a ship; 

(c)  Any claim for loss of life or personal injury sustained as a result of: 

  1. any defect in a ship or in her equipment; and 
  1. the wrongful acts or omissions of the owners, charterers, or persons in possession or control of a ship, or the master or crew thereof, or any other person for whose wrongful acts or omissions the owners, charterers, or persons in possession or control of a ship are responsible, provided, that said acts or omissions are conducted in the navigation or management of the ship, in the loading, carriage or discharge of goods on, in or from the ship, or in the embarkation, carriage, or disembarkation of persons on, in or from the ship; 

(d)  Any claim for loss or damage to goods carried in a ship; 

(e)  Any claim arising out of any agreement relating to the carriage of goods in a ship or to the use or hire of a ship; 

(f)  Any claim in the nature of salvage of a ship, including claims for services 

rendered in saving life from a ship or any aircraft or in preserving cargo, apparel or wreck as are authorized to be made in connection with a ship or aircraft; 

(g)  Any claim in the nature of towage in respect of a ship; 

(h)  Any claim in the nature of pilotage in respect of a ship; 

(i)  Any claim in respect of goods or materials supplied to a ship for her operation or maintenance; 

(j)  Any claim in respect of the construction, repair or equipment of a ship of dock charges or dues; 

(k)  Any claim by a master, shipper, charterer, or agent in respect of disbursements made on account of a ship; 

(l)  Any claim arising out of an act which is or is claimed to be a general average act; 

(m)  Any claim arising out of bottomry; and 

(n)  Any claim arising out of a charter party of whatever kind. 

Part 2. Civil ProcedurePart 4. Special Proceedings
Part 3. Arrest of a Vessel, Cargo, or FreightPart 5. Common Provisions
P&L Law

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.