The Republic of Liberia recently amended its maritime law and related regulations. The amendments are noteworthy because they (i) make permanent the temporary measures allowing the electronic filing of mortgage instruments, and (ii) explicitly provide that (A) enforceable mortgage instruments do not need to attach or describe the terms and conditions of the underlying obligations being secured, and (B) such mortgage instruments will also secure most future modifications to the underlying obligations.
While the ability to file mortgage instruments electronically was implemented by the Liberian registry as a temporary safety measure during the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, these amendments make the ability to electronically file mortgage instruments permanent and, as reported by Seatrade Maritime News, is the “next step in the continuous enhancement of all services offered by Liberia.”
Further, the new explicit statutory confirmation that mortgage instruments, in order to be enforceable under Liberian law, do not need to exhibit or summarize the underlying obligations, puts to rest the debate among practitioners as to whether this summary or annexure is required.
Finally, the revised statute also reflects that mortgage instruments will also secure certain future modifications to the underlying obligations, e.g., (i) changes to interest rates, payment terms or even the maturity date (but not an extension to the maturity date, if the maturity date is stated in the mortgage), and (ii) a decrease in the total amount secured. Again, these revisions provide clarity to practitioners as what amendments to the material terms of the underlying obligations will also require an amendment to the mortgage instrument to be filed.
These amendments to the Liberian law and regulations are effective as of August 9, 2022. Electronic copies of the amended Liberian maritime law and regulations are available on LISCR’s website.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Seward & Kissel's Maritime & Transportation Group, or your primary Seward & Kissel attorney.