Mare Maritime Singapore Pte Ltd; Vs. M.T. Everrich 8 [Notice of
Motion (L) No.2418 of 2015 in Admiralty Suit No.854 of 2015]
The Owners of the "EVERRICH 8" (the Vessel), through
their subsidiary Yuanland Ltd, entered into a voyage charterparty
dated 13 August 2014 with Rakha Al Khaleej International LLC
(Charterers) for the carriage of LPG on board the "EVERRICH
8". The Charterers, in turn, sub chartered the Vessel to
Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), a Government of India
undertaking for the carriage of LPG from the Port of Ras-Laffan to
the Ports of Sikka, of Ennore and Haldia. The Owners discharged
part of the cargo at the Port of Ennore. The balance of the cargo
of around 20,998 MT of LPG was due to be delivered to IOCL, Bharat
Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum
Corporation Limited (HPCL) at the Port of Haldia.
The Mare Maritime Singapore Pte Ltd (Plaintiff) obtained an
order for the arrest of the Vessel claiming payments due under a
Ship Management Agreement dated 24 October 2014. The Vessel was
subsequently arrested at the Port of Ennore, on 20 August 2015.
The Owners of the "EVERRICH 8" applied to the Court
for the transfer of the Vessel under arrest, from the Port of
Ennore to the Port of Haldia, to facilitate the discharge of Liquid
Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The primary issue was whether the Vessel could be allowed to
sail under arrest from the Port of Ennore, to the Port of Haldia,
to facilitate the discharge of the remaining cargo of LPG.
The Owners' arguments:-
The OwnThe loss and prejudice caused
by the delay to the Owners
The Charterers and the receivers of
the cargo were in urgent need of the balance of the cargo
The Owners could face potential
claims for late delivery and/or short delivery of the cargo
The Vessel was due to undergo repairs
at the Port of Haldia.ers submitted that the vessel should be
allowed to sail for the following reasons:-
The Owners further offered to be subject to various other
conditions such as allowing the Vessel to sail with a Bailiff and
police personnel on-board and to bear the associated expenses.
The Respondent Plaintiff's argument:-
The Plaintiff submitted that:
The proposed voyage would in all
probabilities allow the Vessel to sail in international waters
which would cause the Court to lose jurisdiction over the
The Owners were a foreign company
with the Vessel as sole asset.
The Owners made false representations
regarding the geographic location of the Vessel so as to avoid the
jurisdiction of the Court.
There was a risk of maritime liens
being created en route (as a result of a breakdown or collision)
and these would take precedence.
The cargo could be transshipped onto
Alternatively, the receivers could
take delivery of the cargo at the Port of Ennore or could purchase
a similar cargo and then claim from the Owners.
Commercial considerations could not
be grounds for allowing the application.
The Court held that the Application could not be decided on the
prejudice created by the Plaintiff and had to be considered on the
basis of its own merit. Further, the Court considered that the
value of the Vessel far exceeded the Plaintiff's claim, and
held that the argument regarding the possible creation of maritime
liens was without any foundation. As for the proposed cargo
transhipment, this suggestion too seemed unrealistic.
In order to ascertain the factual position, the Court enquired
from the receivers who confirmed that failure to deliver the cargo
at the Port of Haldia could lead to the depletion of stock.
Further, the Indian coastal guard confirmed that it was possible
for the Vessel to sail from the Port of Ennore to the Port of
Haldia under surveillance and if the Vessel violated any order of
the Court, the Indian coast guard could pursue the Vessel and
direct it back into Indian Territorial water.
The court relied on the judgement of the Bombay High Court
Bombay in Lufeng Shipping Co.Ltd. Vs. M V Rainbow Ace in Appeal
(L)No. 228 of 2013 in Notice of Motion No. 235 of 2013 in Admiralty
Suit No.29 of 2013 wherein the court directed that the Vessel
"RAINBOW ACE" under arrest be moved from the Port of
Pipava to the Port of Mumbai.
The Court would allow the Vessel to sail from the Port of Ennore
to the Port of Haldia, subject to the following conditions:-
That an independent master mariner
board the Vessel and supervise it at all times.
That the armed guards be present on
That at all times, the Vessel report
her location/coordinates to the Indian Coast Guard.
The Court accepted the Owners'
undertaking to bear the associated expenses.
The Applicant would bear the costs
and expenses of the armed guards and independent master mariner on
board the Vessel.
This update is authored by Clasis Law, Clyde &
Co's associated firm in India
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