Baridhi Shipping Lines Ltd and Another v Sea Consortium Pte Ltd and Another

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeLee Seiu Kin JC
Judgment Date27 June 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGHC 134
Citation[2002] SGHC 134
Defendant CounselYang Ing Loong ( Allen & Gledhill )
Date27 June 2002
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselDoris Chua And Chang Man Phing ( Harry Elias Partnership )
Docket NumberSuit No 756 of 2001 (Summons in Chambers No 837 of 2002)
Subject MatterNatural forum,Conflict of Laws,Plaintiffs applying to lift stay,Stay of action as Bangladesh the more appropriate forum -Bangladeshi court ruling it has no jurisdiction to try plaintiffs' claim,Applicable principles,Whether to lift stay,Stay of plaintiffs' action in Singapore

Judgment

GROUNDS OF DECISION

1 The first Plaintiff ("Baridhi") is a company registered in Bangladesh. At all material times it was, and still is, the agent in Bangladesh for Evergreen Marine Corporation (Taiwan) Ltd ("EMC"), a Taiwanese main line operator that manages and operates numerous vessels worldwide. As agent, Baridhi promotes and manages the business of EMC in Bangladesh, including securing shipping contracts for EMC.

2 The second Plaintiff ("HRC"), also a Bangladeshi company, is in the business of transporting cargo but on a smaller scale compared to EMC’s operations. Its mode of operation is to contract with major lines, such as EMC, to transport cargo out of Bangladesh to another country where that cargo would be loaded into larger vessels belonging to EMC for carriage to the final destination. For cargo destined for Bangladesh, HRC would pick up such cargo from EMC vessels and convey them to Bangladeshi ports. HRC and operators like it are called "feeder operators".

3 The first Defendant ("SCPL") is a company registered in Singapore. It is a feeder operator like HRC and is its competitor in Bangladesh. The second Defendant ("Wong") is a director of SCPL. The Plaintiffs allege that in respect of the acts complained of, Wong had acted in the course of his employment or had done so for and on behalf of SCPL.

4 The Statement of Claim alleges that Wong had published an e-mail dated 6 April 2001 which contained words that are defamatory of the Plaintiffs. The e-mail was sent to, inter alia, officers of EMC in Taiwan, an officer of RTW Shipping (S) Pte Ltd which is the agent for EMC in Singapore, and the office of the agent of EMC in Sri Lanka. The Plaintiffs’ claim is in damages, including special damages and exemplary damages. In 4 and 5 of the Statement of Claim the Plaintiffs explained the background to that e-mail in this manner:

4. The 1st Defendant was to have transported certain cargo out of Bangladesh for EMC. However, had it done so, it would have been in breach of the Bangladesh Flag Vessels (Protection) Shipping Ordinance, 1982 ("the Ordinance") construed together with the Notification dated 26 September 1982 in the Bangladesh Gazette. This was because being a foreign entity in Bangladesh, the 1st Defendant did not have the requisite waiver under the Ordinance. Hence the 1st Plaintiff arranged for the said cargo to be transported instead by the 2nd Plaintiff. Being owners and operators of Bangladeshi flag vessels, the 2nd Plaintiff did not and does not need to procure such a waiver.

5. When EMC queried why the said cargo was transported by the 2nd Plaintiff and not the 1st Defendant, the 1st Plaintiff explained in e-mails dated 16 March 2001 and 22 March 2001. However, the 2nd Defendant disagreed with the explanation in his e-mails dated 19 March 2001 and 6 April 2001.

5 The e-mail of 6 April 2001, in essence, stated that the issue of the legality of using SCPL to carry the cargo was just the pretext upon which Baridhi diverted cargo to HRC. Wong had alleged in the e-mail that the legislation in question was an outdated one which was originally enacted to protect the Bangladesh Shipping Corporation. He deposed that HRC, being a private shipping company was not the national line and it was not the intention of the legislation to protect such companies. However HRC and other private lines had been taking advantage of the legislation by putting undue pressure on the Director-General (Shipping) in Bangladesh to reject waivers for foreign vessels like those of SCPL. The e-mail ended in the following manner:

HRC are going about on a malicious campaign, trying to get these age old rules...

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2 cases
  • TGT v TGU
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 22 Octubre 2015
    ...it as affecting the availability of the foreign court. Baridhi Shipping Lines Ltd and another v Sea Consortium Pte Ltd and another [2002] 2 SLR(R) 269 (“Baridhi Shipping”) is an example where the Singapore court held that a foreign court, which declined jurisdiction, was an available forum.......
  • Tan Boon Hai v Tan Swee Swan (a patient) defending by his guardian ad litem Tan Hee Liang and Tan Hee Joek
    • Singapore
    • District Court (Singapore)
    • 3 Octubre 2006
    ...submitted that the defendant has a valid cause of action in China. Relying on Baridhi Shipping Lines Ltd v Sea Consortium Pte Ltd [2002] 3 SLR 587, counsel further submitted that the court should therefore exercise its discretion to grant a stay. With respect, the Baridhi case does not stan......

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