Keppel Shipyard (Pte) Ltd v Monvia Motorship Corp

JudgeA P Rajah J
Judgment Date31 January 1980
Neutral Citation[1980] SGCA 2
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 67 of 1978
Date31 January 1980
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselP Selvadurai (Rodyk & Davidson)
Citation[1980] SGCA 2
Defendant CounselJ Grimberg (Drew & Napier)
CourtCourt of Appeal (Singapore)
Subject MatterConstruction of telex documents,Agreement,Claim against defendants for failure to provide facilities for screwshaft survey,Formation,Construction of telex documents -Principles applied,Express terms,Principles supplied by court,Principles applied by court,Construction,Contract,Contractual terms,Drydocking,Whether ordinary drydocking included screwshaft survey,Telex messages,Breach,Claim for breach of agreement to provide drydock space and execute repairs,No express agreement

This appeal arises from a claim by the respondents (plaintiffs) against the appellants (defendants) for £33,934.94 equivalent to S$197,942.50, being the amount of damages allegedly suffered by them as set out in their amended statement of claim.

By judgment dated 6 October 1978 judgment was given for the plaintiffs against the defendants in the sum of S$197,942.50 with interest and costs to be taxed.

The story begins with three telexes exchanged between the plaintiffs` agents, Phocean Ship Agency Ltd of London, and the defendants.
On 3 October 1973 Phocean sent this telex to the defendants:

Please advise us whether you have a drydock available for our MV Master Stelios 12960 tons dw for ordinary drydocking and screwshaft survey your immediate reply will be appreciated thanks Phokais Tlx No 886878

On 4 October 1973 the defendants replied as follows:

MV Master Stelios

Re your enquiry 3/10 we can offer dockspace around 16/17 October. Please confirm early if acceptable.

On 8 October 1973 Phocean telexed the defendants as follows:

MV Master Stelios

Regarding our previous messages, please arrange stem drydock for 16/17 instant We shall advise you vessel`s eta later. Meantime please quote following items:

1 Drydock, shore unshore and undock vessel.

(2) Provide the necessary tugboats and pilot to move vessel into and out of drydock.

(3) Provide mooring crew ashore only. To moor vessel alongside a yard berth after of prior to drydocking.

(4) Clean boottop belt and bottom by power hose and scraping as required and permit hull to dry.

(5) Apply one full coat of owners (Hempels) boottop. One full coat of owners (Hempels) anti-corrosive and one coat of anti-fouling compositions.

Touch up boottop belt and bottom areas as required and instructed by owner`s superintendent with owner`s primers (Hempels).

(6) Repaint draught markings forward and aft and plimsoll markings.

(7) Open out injection intakes, clean and coat grids and intakes with apexior.

(8) Take rudder and tailshaft weardown and submit written record to the office.

(9) Renew all eroded and/or missing shell anodes and fit owners new anodes (per anode) type Wilson Walton International W 117 and W 124.

Open out shell valves as instructed by owner`s superintendent, overhaul and close up.

(10) Buff propeller by means of wire bushes.

(11) Supply sanitary water during stay in drydock unless decent toilet spaces available ashore.

(12) Supply fireline water supplies and disconnect on drydocking.

(13) Supply fireguards during period of repairs, per man per day.

(14) Supply shore current during stay in drydock and disconnect on undocking.

(15) State cost of kw/hour for shore current including attendance.

(16) Supply domestic refrigerator cooling water during stay in drydock and disconnect on undocking.

(17) State cost per ton including attendance for refrigerator circulating water.

(18) Supply telephone connection during vessel`s stay at yard and disconnect upon departure of vessel.

(19) Supply crane hire for owners stores or spares. Cost per hour attendance.

(20) Grit or sandblast boottop belt inclusive per square metre.

(21) Coat boottop belt two full priming coats per square metre, owners paints (Hempels).

All charges for numbered items to be inclusive of work, staging, etc.

No extra work to be executed unless sanctioned by owners superintendent engineer only.

The MV `Master Stelios` (hereinafter referred to as the vessel), the subject-matter of the telexes, arrived in Singapore and anchored at the West Anchorage at 2200 hours on 15 October 1973.
On the following morning, 16 October, she proceeded to the defendants` shipyard and was in drydock at 1420 hours. The ship owner`s representative, Mr Stylianos Eustathiou, to whom categoric reference was made in the third and last telex, arrived in Singapore on Wednesday, 17 October and boarded the vessel at 2200 hours. A great deal of evidence was led on both sides as to matters before these three telexes and as to what happened on arrival of the vessel in drydock on 16 October 1973 and before her leaving drydock on the morning of 19 October. During the drydock period there was no screwshaft survey but the defendants executed repairs specifically requested by the master.

It was the plaintiffs` case by their statement of claim that as a result of the exchanges of these three messages an agreement had been concluded between the

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