Lim Bok Lai v Selco (Singapore) Pte Ltd

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeLai Kew Chai J
Judgment Date27 August 1987
Neutral Citation[1987] SGHC 35
Citation[1987] SGHC 35
Defendant CounselYvonne Tan (Shook Lin & Bok)
Plaintiff CounselRichard Kuek Chong Yeow (Prakash Gurbani & Chong)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 697 of 1986
Date27 August 1987
Subject MatterWhether plaintiff allowed to pursue claim in rem,Civil Procedure,Judgments and orders,Admiralty and Shipping,Issue of writs against vessels owned by company,Court's discretion to grant leave for plaintiff to proceed in rem,Whether plaintiff a secured creditor,Admiralty jurisdiction and arrest,Company subsequently wound up,ss 3(1) & 4(4) High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123),ss 255(2) & 262(3) Companies Act (Cap 50),Action in rem

Cur Adv Vult

By this originating summons the plaintiff, a bunker supplier, is seeking leave to continue and pursue any of the remedies or do any act which he can lawfully pursue in respect of three writs of admiralty in which he is the plaintiff and the defendants were sued as the owners of motor vessels `Salversatile`, `Salvenom` and `Salvail` at the time those writs were filed, notwithstanding that the defendants have been wound up.

His application is made under sub-s (3) of s 262 of the Companies Act(Cap 50) which reads as follows:

When a winding up order has been made or a provisional liquidator has been appointed, no action or proceeding shall be proceeded with or commenced against the company except -

(a) by leave of the Court; and

(b) in accordance with such terms as the Court imposes.

The facts, except in respect of those surrounding a subsidiary issue to which I will revert, are not materially in dispute.
The plaintiff says that in the months of September and October 1985 he had at the request of the defendants supplied bunkers at the total price of US$125,052.78 to the vessels known as `Selco Air Manis`, `Salvirile` and `Salviscount`. These vessels are not the subject matter of the in rem proceedings featuring in this case. The plaintiff further says that although these ships were not owned by the defendants, the defendants for their own account and as the principal had ordered and purchased the bunkers which were delivered to the three vessels either owned or bareboat chartered by companies within the well- known but now collapsed group of companies called the Pan-Electric Group and of which the defendants were a member. Accordingly, the plaintiff asserts that the defendants were all material times the person liable in personam within the meaning of s 4(4) of the High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123). In other words, the plaintiff says that when he supplied the bunkers to the abovenamed three vessels these vessels were chartered to or in the possession or control of the defendants.

On 3 December 1985, the plaintiff issued three writs in admiralty in rem and they are (1) admiralty in rem No 747 of 1985 against the defendants` ship `Salversatile` for the price of bunkers supplied to `Salviscount`; (2) Admiralty in Rem No 748 of 1985 against the defendants` ship `Salvenom` for the price of the bunkers supplied to `Salvirile`; and (3) Admiralty in Rem No 750 of 1985 against the defendants` ship `Salvail` for the price of bunkers supplied to `Selco Air Manis`.
The plaintiff did not serve these writs and it follows that he did not arrest any of the vessels.

On 2 January 1986, a creditor of the defendants filed a Companies Winding Up Petition No 1 of 1986 against the defendants.
On 4 June 1986 the High Court ordered the winding up of the company and by virtue of s 255(2) of the Companies Act (Cap 50) the winding up of the defendants was deemed to have commenced on 2 January 1986 which was just under a month after the plaintiff had filed the three admiralty in rem writs mentioned earlier. In other words, the plaintiff had filed and issued the three writs in admiralty in rem before the commencement of the winding up or compulsory liquidation of the defendants, although none of the said writs had been served before such liquidation and it follows that none of the three vessels was...

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11 cases
  • Kuo Fen Ching and Another v Dauphin Offshore Engineering & Trading Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 2 July 1999
    ...Act (Cap 50) to be granted. 9. In coming to his decision, Rajendran J relied largely on Lim Bock Lai v Selco (Singapore) Pte Ltd [1987] 2 MLJ 688. Lai Kew Chai J granted the plaintiffs in this case the requisite leave to continue proceedings under s 262(3) of the Companies Act. He said that......
  • Dauphin Offshore Engineering & Trading Pte Ltd Inc v Owners of the Vessel Capricorn
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 6 November 1998
    ...and if the account is in their favour to have it sold in order to satisfy the debt. 15.In Lim Bock Lai v Selco (Singapore) Pte Ltd [1987] SLR 423 [1987] 2 MLJ 688 , the plaintiffs had supplied bunkers to three vessels that were under charter to or in the possession or control of the defenda......
  • The "Hull 308"
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 9 October 1991
    ...In re [1980] Ch 196 (folld) Exchange Securities & Commodities Ltd, Re [1983] BCLC 186 (folld) Lim Bock Lai v Selco (Singapore) Pte Ltd [1987] SLR (R) 466; [1987] SLR 423 (folld) Oak Pits Colliery Co, In re (1882) 21 Ch D 322 (folld) Preston Banking Co v William Allsup & Sons [1895] 1 Ch 141......
  • The ‘Bunga Melati 5’
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 August 2011
    ...1 SLR 648 (refd) Kingstar Shipping Ltd v Owners of the Ship ‘Rolita’ [1989] 1 HKLR 394 (folld) Lim Bok Lai v Selco (Singapore) Pte Ltd [1987] SLR (R) 466; [1987] SLR 423 (refd) Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Co, The v The North Central Wagon Co (1888) 13 App Cas 554 (folld) ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 1994, December 1994
    • 1 December 1994
    ...the ship” has a substantive and not merely a formal or nominal role in relation to the ship in respect of which the claim arose. 37 [1987] 2 M.L.J. 688. In this case, Lai J. applied the principle laid down by the English Court of Appeal in In Re Aro[1980] 1 Ch. 196. 38 [1991] 3 M.L.J. 393. ......

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