The ‘Bunga Melati 5’

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date23 August 2011
Docket NumberAdmiralty in Rem No 21 of 2010 (Registrar's Appeal No 252 of 2010)
Date23 August 2011

High Court

Belinda Ang Saw Ean J

Admiralty in Rem No 21 of 2010 (Registrar's Appeal No 252 of 2010)

The ‘Bunga Melati 5’

Leong Kah Wah, Teo Ke-Wei Ian and Koh See Bin (Rajah & Tann LLP) for the plaintiff

Prem Gurbani, S Mohan and Adrian Aw (Gurbani & Co) for the defendant.

AA V, The [1999] 3 SLR (R) 664; [2001] 1 SLR 207 (not folld)

Alexandrea, The [2002] 1 SLR (R) 812; [2002] 3 SLR 56 (refd)

Andres Bonifacio, The [1991] 1 SLR (R) 523; [1991] SLR 694 (refd)

Andres Bonifacio, The [1993] 3 SLR (R) 71; [1993] 3 SLR 521 (refd)

Anton Piller KG v Manufacturing Processes Ltd [1976] Ch 55 (refd)

Art Trend Ltd v Blue Dolphin (Pte) Ltd [1981-1982] SLR (R) 633; [1982-1983] SLR 362 (refd)

Astro Exito Navegacion SA v W T Hsu (The ‘Messiniaki Tolmi’) [1984] 1 Lloyd's Rep 266 (refd)

Aventicum, The [1978] 1 Lloyd's Rep 184 (refd)

‘Avro International’ (Owners) v Arabian Marine Bunkers Sales Co Ltd [1987] SLR (R) 610; [1987] SLR 176 (refd)

Baltic Shipping Co Ltd v Pegasus Lines SA [1996] 3 NZLR 641 (refd)

Bradley Lomas Electrolok Ltd v Colt Ventilation East Asia Pte Ltd [1999] 3 SLR (R) 1156; [2000] 1 SLR 673 (refd)

Butler Machine Tool Co Ltd v Ex-Cell-O Corp (England) Ltd [1979] 1 WLR 401 (refd)

Catur Samudra, The [2010] 2 SLR 518 (refd)

Costello v Mac Donald [2011] EWCA Civ 930 (folld)

DSV Silo-Und Verwaltungsgesellschaft mb H v Owners of The Sennar and 13 Other Ships [1985] 1 WLR 490 (refd)

DPP v Ray [1974] AC 370 (refd)

E F Hutton & Co (London) Ltd v Mofarrij [1989] 1 WLR 488 (refd)

Eagle Prestige, The [2010] 3 SLR 294 (refd)

Empire Shipping Co Inc v Owners of the Ship ‘Shin Kobe Maru’ (1991) 104 ALR 489 (refd)

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Jarguh Sawit, The [1995] 2 SLR (R) 913; [1995] 3 SLR 840 (refd)

Jarguh Sawit, The [1997] 1 SLR (R) 213; [1997] 2 SLR 563 (refd)

Jarguh Sawit, The [1997] 3 SLR (R) 829; [1998] 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)

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Civil Law Act (Cap 43, 1999 Rev Ed) s 4 (10) (consd)

High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123, 2001 Rev Ed) ss 3 (1) , 4 (4) (consd) ;ss 3, 3 (1) (c) , 3 (1) (l) , 3 (1) (d) - (q) , 4, 4 (2) , 4 (4) (b) , 4 (4) (b) (ii)

Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed) O 11 r 2 (2) , O 12 r 7, O 18 r 19 (consd) ;O 11 r 1, O 11 r 2 (1) (b) , O 11 rr 2-8, O 70 r 2 (3) , O 70 r 3 (3) , O 70 r 7 (1)

Administration of Justice Act 1956 (c 46) (UK) s 3 (4) (consd)

Admiralty Act 1988 (Cth) ss 3, 4 (2) , 19

Admiralty Act 1973 (NZ)

Rules of the Supreme Court (SI 1965/1776) (UK) O 11 r 1 (1) , O 11 r 4 (2) (consd)

Supreme Court of Judicature (Consolidation) Act 1925 (c 49) (UK) s 45 (1) (consd)

Admiralty and Shipping—Admiralty jurisdiction and arrest—Action in rem—Standard of proof—Bunker supplier commencing action in remagainst shipowner's vessel under s 4 (4) (b) (ii) High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123, 2001 Rev Ed) in respect of unpaid bunkers—Whether any jurisdiction to bring action in rem in High Court—Whether s 4 (4) satisfied—Whether shipowner ‘person who would be liable on the claim in an action in personam’ within meaning of s 4 (4) (b) —Whether necessary to show ‘good arguable case’ that shipowner ‘would be liable on the claim in an action in personam’ within meaning of s 4 (4) (b) in order to invoke admiralty jurisdiction—Whether any jurisdictional merits test independent of High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act—Section 4 (4) High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123, 2001 Rev Ed)

Admiralty and Shipping—Practice and procedure of action in rem—Shipowner applying to strike out bunker supplier's action in rem under O 18 r 19 Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed) or court's inherent jurisdiction—Shipowner applying to set aside bunker supplier's writ in rem under O 12 r 7—Whether proper for applications under O 18 r 19 and O 12 r 7 to be based on same arguments—Order 12 r 7 and O 18 r 19 Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed)

Civil Procedure—Jurisdiction—Distinction between jurisdiction and merits—Distinction between O 12 r 7 and O 18 r 19 Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed) or court's inherent jurisdiction

Civil Procedure—Striking out—Distinction between jurisdiction and merits—Distinction between O 12 r 7 and O 18 r 19 Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed) or court's inherent jurisdiction

Words and Phrases—Shipowner applying to strike out bunker supplier's writ in rem under O 18 r 19 Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed) or court's inherent jurisdiction—Shipowner applying to set aside bunker supplier's writ in rem under O 12 r 7—Meaning of ‘setting aside’ and ‘striking out’—Order 12 r 7 and O 18 r 19 Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed)

The plaintiff was a company in the business of supplying bunkers, while the defendant was a shipping company and owner of a number of vessels, including the MT Navig 8 Faith, the Bunga Kasturi Lima and the Bunga Melati 5.

The plaintiff alleged that the parties had entered into two fixed price contracts under which the plaintiff would supply bunkers to a number of the defendant's vessels (‘the Fixed Price Contracts’) , as well as a separate contract under which the plaintiff would supply bunkers to the MT Navig 8 Faith(‘the Navig 8 Faith Contract’) . The plaintiff claimed that all these contracts were brokered through the agency of Market Asia Link Sdn Bhd (‘MAL’) , the defendant's alleged buying agent. As the plaintiff had not been paid in respect of the alleged Fixed Price Contracts and Navig 8 Faith Contract, it commenced attachment proceedings in the United States (‘the US proceedings’) against theBunga Kasturi Lima, but the attachment order was vacated by courts in the United States, and the plaintiff subsequently withdrew the matter. The plaintiff then commenced the present action in rem against the Bunga Melati 5 under s 4 (4) (b) (ii) of the High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123, 2001 Rev Ed) (‘the HCAJA’) in respect of the unpaid bunkers, on the basis that the defendant was liable to it in contract and in unjust enrichment.

The defendant applied to strike out the plaintiff's action in rem pursuant to O 18 r 19 of the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed) (‘the ROC’) or the court's inherent jurisdiction, on the basis that it had not been in a contractual relationship with the plaintiff; rather, the plaintiff had contracted directly with MAL, and MAL had in turn contracted (as principal, not agent) with...

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4 cases
  • The ‘Bunga Melati 5’
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 21 août 2012
    ...be allowed to proceed to a full trial. This decision was subsequently affirmed by a High Court judge (‘the Judge’) in The Bunga Melati 5 [2011]4SLR 1017 (‘the GD’). 2 After considering the parties' submissions, we allowed the appeal and restored the appellant's action. The detailed reasons ......
  • The "Vinalines Pioneer"
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 12 décembre 2014
    ...explained with admirable clarity by the High Court in The Eagle Prestige [2010] 3 SLR 294 (“The Eagle Prestige”) and The Bunga Melati 5 [2011] 4 SLR 1017 (“The Bunga Melati 5 (HC”). These principles were endorsed by the Court of Appeal in The Bunga Melati 5: “96. …when a plaintiff’s invokin......
  • The "Chem Orchid" and another matter
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 20 janvier 2016
    ...ruling in the court below that disputed jurisdictional facts had to be proved on “a balance of probabilities” (see The Bunga Melati 5 [2011] 4 SLR 1017 (“The Bunga Melati (HC)”) at [108]–[109]). Notwithstanding this endorsement, we note that concerns were in fact raised by Belinda Ang J as ......
  • The "Chem Orchid" and another matter
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 20 janvier 2016
    ...ruling in the court below that disputed jurisdictional facts had to be proved on “a balance of probabilities” (see The Bunga Melati 5 [2011] 4 SLR 1017 (“The Bunga Melati (HC)”) at [108]–[109]). Notwithstanding this endorsement, we note that concerns were in fact raised by Belinda Ang J as ......

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