The "Arcadia Spirit"

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date19 January 1988
Neutral Citation[1988] SGHC 8
Citation[1988] SGHC 8
Subject MatterDiscretion of court,Admiralty and Shipping,Admiralty jurisdiction and arrest,O 70 r 12(4) Rules of the Supreme Court 1970,Release of vessel against provision of letter of guarantee by Japan P & I Club
Defendant CounselGP Selvam and Kenneth Tan (Drew & Napier)
Date19 January 1988
Plaintiff CounselM Karthigesu and A Thambiyah (Cooma Lau & Loh & M Karthigesu)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberAdmiralty in Rem No 5 of 1988

(delivering oral judgment)

I take the view that O 70 r 12(4) gives me the discretion to order the release of this vessel against the provision of a P & I Club letter of guarantee. P & I Clubs are now acknowledged as being part and parcel of the maritime industry. The unreported New Zealand case, The Pacific Charger (CA, NZ, unreported) [a report of this judgment appears at [1988] 3 MLJ 263 ], to which Mr Selvam referred, establishes that a Club guarantee has been considered acceptable security by the court in New Zealand. In that case the scope of the New Zealand equivalent of our O 70 r 12(4) was considered. It is obvious, too, from the textbooks, that Club security has become acceptable as a matter of course, when negotiations for security take place outside the rules of court.

There is admittedly a wrinkle, a very important wrinkle, in this case in that here we are dealing with a proposed letter of guarantee to be furnished by a Club which has no presence or assets here, and which resides in a non-Commonwealth and non-common law jurisdiction. Therefore, theoretically, there could be an enforcement problem. However, it seems to me that to allow that possibility to affect my mind would be to adopt a wholly negative approach. I prefer to proceed upon the assumption that the Japan Club - whose guarantees (as the evidence shows) are acceptable to a number of governments, including our own - that such a club which would stand to lose its international reputation were it to default on a guarantee - would fulfil its obligations with honour. Accordingly, I am inclined to order the release of the vessel in consideration of the provision of a letter of guarantee of the Japan Club in terms to be agreed.

I am faced, having made that decision, with the other difficulty arising from the lack of consensus on quantum, coupled with the urgency of the matter. I was informed by Mr Selvam this morning that the vessel is seaworthy, and but for the fact that she is currently under arrest, would sail. I had in mind the possibility of adjourning this application with liberty to restore, so as to enable either the plaintiff or defendant to apply for an order of appraisal under O 70 r 22. However, that would obviously...

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3 cases
  • The "Seaway"
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 30 December 2003
    ...the defendants/respondents. A R Appelqvist A/B v The Cyprian Coast (Owners) (“The Arabert”) [1963] P 102 (distd) Arcadia Spirit, The [1988] 1 SLR (R) 73; [1988] SLR 244 (distd) Baremeda Enterprises Pty Ltd v Ronald Patrick O'Conner (“The Tiruna and Pelorus”) [1986] 2 Lloyd's Rep 536 (refd) ......
  • The Seaway; Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte) Ltd v The Owners of the Ship or Vessel "Seaway"
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 May 2003
    ...I am not propounding a new legal rule, but rather affirming what is generally believed to be the status quo. In both The Arcadia Spirit [1988] SLR 244 and BP Shipping Ltd v Caltex Singapore Pte Ltd [1996] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 286, the parties assumed without argument that liability in respect of p......
  • Berkon Shipping N V v The Owners of the Ship or Vessel "Berkut"
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 26 November 1999
    ...plaintiffs’ behalf that the reference point must be the market value and not the forced sale value. She relied on the "Arcadia Spirit" [1988] SLR 244 in support of this proposition. In that case the court, faced with two valuations, preferred the valuation made on the basis of market value ......
1 books & journal articles
  • Charting Our Own Courses: The Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore Journeys in Maritime Law
    • Australia
    • Australian and New Zealand Maritime Law Journal Nbr. 30-1, June 2016
    • 1 June 2016
    ...81), who reviewed the court transcript of the first instance hearing in setting out the facts in the article. 53 The Arcadia Spirit [1988] 3 MLJ 262 54 The Rules of the Supreme Court 1970. 55 The Japan Ship Owners’ Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association. (2016) 30 ANZ Mar LJ 7 I note, ......

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