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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Pre-enforcement: consider the defaulter: seafarers

In England and Wales and Northern Ireland

Do not start recovery proceedings against seafarers while they are at sea. You cannot take summary proceedings against a seafarer.

In Scotland

Do NOT start recovery proceedings whilst the debtor is at sea.

Under Section 73(3) of the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 the earnings of a merchant seaman are not `earnings’ for the purposes of Part III of the Act (Earnings arrestment). You cannot effect an earnings arrestment.

Where the employer is within Scotland, you may, however, consider laying an ordinary arrestment on the earnings, followed by an Action of Furthcoming if necessary.

Where you think summary proceedings or ordinary cause action is appropriate, ensure that the debtor will be ashore long enough to allow them to defend the action.

If the debtor is living or working abroad, or employed by a company or agent outside Scotland, difficulties can arise with jurisdiction and service of documents. You should refer such cases to the Recovery Support Group Edinburgh with a full report of the circumstances.