Thursday, August 21, 2014

Arrest of Container Vessel Judged Illegal as Shipping Group Looks for Damages

Reversal of Lower Court Decision After Seizure Made Before Debt Became Due
Shipping News Feature

SINGAPORE – The High Court has upheld a previous judgement which struck out an action undertaken by Singapore based bunkering group Transocean Oil Pte Ltd against the troubled Korean shipping group STX Pan Ocean and also set aside the arrest of that company’s vessel the STX Mumbai, a 2,742 TEU container ship and the third company vessel to be arrested in Singapore in a three week spell in mid 2013.

In some good news for the vessel’s owners Honourable Justice Belinda Ang also ordered an inquiry into the damages it suffered after ruling that action was struck out because the vessel was arrested before the alleged debt fell due. The judgement to set aside the arrest went against the original decision of the lower Court and the inquiry regarding damages is unusual as the Court’s typically are reluctant to proceed on this course.

Full details of the judgement can be read here on the website of lawyers Clyde and Co, whose associated firm Clasis LLC represented the ship’s owners, and before a decision was made the Court studied the jurisdictions of the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States and Canada and published an academic commentary on this. The learned judge, upon an analysis of the authorities from various jurisdictions, considered that ‘on balance the doctrine of anticipatory breach should not apply in cases of executed contracts.’