The "Indriani"

CourtCourt of Appeal (Singapore)
JudgeKarthigesu JA
Judgment Date12 January 1996
Neutral Citation[1996] SGCA 2
Citation[1996] SGCA 2
Defendant CounselJainil Bhandari and Goh Mei Lin (Khattar Wong & Pnrs)
Plaintiff CounselBelinda Ang (Ang & Pnrs)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 25 of 1995
Date12 January 1996
Subject Matters 3(1)(h) High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123),Words and Phrases,Claim for malicious or injurious falsehood,Admiralty and Shipping,Whether 'arising out of any agreement relating to the carriage of goods in a ship or to the use or hire of a ship','Arising out of',Admiralty jurisdiction and arrest

Cur Adv Vult

(delivering the judgment of the court): This appeal concerns the scope of the admiralty jurisdiction within s 3(1)(h) of the High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123) (the Act). The question is whether the respondents` tortious claim for malicious or injurious falsehood is one `arising out of any agreement relating to the carriage of goods in a ship or to the use or hire of a ship`. There is also the prior question as to the interpretation of the phrase `arising out of`.

We begin with the essential facts.
By a sale contract dated 22 February 1993 (the contract), the respondents agreed to sell a certain quantity of sesame seed expeller (the cargo) to PT Metro Inti Sejahtera Indonesia (Metro), an Indonesian company. The contract provided for payment by way of a letter of credit. One of the documents required for payment was a `clean on board bill of lading`. Subsequently, the respondents chartered the vessel, the Indriani, from the appellant shipowners to carry the cargo from Lianyungang in China to Jakarta in Indonesia for delivery to Metro. Clause 45 of the voyage charterparty, dated 27 March 1993, states:

Master to sign bills of lading marked `clean on board` in this respect and in order to avoid clausing of bills of lading, the master to have the right to reject any damaged cargo which is not in conformity with the description of the quality certificate as declared by official surveyors.

On or around 20 April 1993, the cargo was shipped from Lianyungang.
The appellants` agents in Singapore issued a clean bill of lading, dated 21 April 1993. When the cargo was discharged in Jakarta between 30 April and 2 May 1993, it was found to be in a bad condition. On 10 June 1993, the appellants wrote a letter to Metro, the translation of which is reproduced as follows:

This is to inform you that on 15 April 1993 at the hour of 11.52am we received a notification by fax from PENAVICO, our China agent, Lianyungang Branch ...;

The fax confirmed that the goods ... were rejected by CCIC [the respondents` appointed surveyors] at Lianyungang for shipment as the quality is wet, warm and ill-smelling.

Having received the said fax, on that very day we phoned the seller Thye Nam Loong (S) Pte Ltd, Singapore, informing them about the quality condition of the goods in question, nevertheless seller insisted to ship the goods in spite of the abovementioned condition of the goods.

We need to inform you that with respect to the condition of the said goods which is already wet, warm and ill-smelling, during the voyage of the ship ... we used two blowers.

Metro rejected the cargo and refused to pay the respondents.
On 24 August 1993, the respondents commenced this action in rem against the Indriani to claim damages of US$567,389.57 being the price of the cargo based on misrepresentation, deceit or fraud. The appellants applied to stay the proceedings on the ground that the parties to the charterparty had agreed to submit their dispute to arbitration. The respondents contended that they were not claiming under the charterparty but on the tort of misrepresentation. In turn, the appellants replied that the action of misrepresentation was not disclosed on the facts. The Assistant Registrar Ronald Choo agreed with the appellants. However, he suggested an alternative cause of action based on malicious or injurious falsehood to the respondents. The respondents duly amended the writ to include the tort of malicious or injurious falsehood. At this point, the jurisdictional question was raised by the appellants. The assistant registrar decided that the respondents` claim of malicious or injurious falsehood fell within s 3(1)(h) of the Act. Thus, the admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court was properly invoked.

On appeal, GP Selvam J upheld the decision of the assistant registrar: see [1995] 3 SLR 381 .
GP Selvam J construed the phrase `arising out of` within s 3(1)(h) of the Act to mean `connected with`, relying on The Antonis P Lemos; Samick Lines Co v Antonis P Lemos (Owners) [1985] AC 711, [1985] 1 All ER 695. Turning to the facts, he commented, at pp 386-387:

In this case the crux of the plaintiffs` case against the defendants is that the letter of 10 June 1993 contained statements to the effect that the plaintiffs knowingly shipped cargo which was not in apparent good order and condition. It said that the cargo, to the knowledge of the plaintiffs, was wet and ill-smelling. It meant that the plaintiffs obtained a clean bill of lading without justification and in breach of the terms of the sales contract tendered a bill of lading containing false statements which would entitle buyers to refuse payment or full payment. This inevitably led to the question between the plaintiffs and defendants of whether a clean bill of lading was correctly issued. To make out their case of malicious falsehood the plaintiffs must plead and prove that the clean bill of lading was correctly obtained from the defendants and tendered to Metro. The real issue therefore is the propriety of the plaintiffs` obtaining and later tendering the clean bill of lading. This claim, therefore, is very closely `connected with` the bill of lading and an essential part of the plaintiffs` case against the defendants. It was not so connected only in a general sense. Nor did it merely form part of the background facts.

The appellants have now appealed against GP Selvam J`s decision.

Before us, counsel for the appellants, Ms Ang accepted that the bill of lading and the charterparty are agreements within the ambit of s 3(1)(h) of the Act.
She also accepted that the parties to an admiralty action based on s 3(1)(h) of the Act need not be parties to the agreement in question. She asked us to consider if the phrase `arising out of` should be interpreted to mean `connected with`. If such a construction is adopted, she contended strenuously that on the facts, the claim is not connected with either the bill of lading or the charterparty such as to fall within the admiralty jurisdiction of the Act. Ms Ang highlighted the following matters for our consideration. First, she submitted that the respondents` claim is essentially based on the letter of 10 June 1993. This was written by the appellants in response to Metro`s claim against them for damage to the cargo during the voyage. Written five weeks after the performance of the voyage, the letter is not referable in any way to the performance of the charterparty or the bill of lading. Secondly, the claim of malicious or injurious falsehood can be pleaded without reference to the charterparty or bill of lading. The agreements are but the background to the claim. At most, the bill of lading and the charterparty provide evidence to prove the claim. In fact, it is possible to make out the case of malicious or injurious falsehood without the bill of lading. Thirdly, Ms Ang submitted that GP Selvam J erred in holding that if there is a clean bill of lading,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
7 cases
  • The “Catur Samudra”
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 15 Enero 2010
    ...Partido, The [1978] QB 500; [1977] 1 Lloyd's Rep 536 (refd) Inai Selasih, The [2005] 4 SLR (R) 1; [2005] 4 SLR 1 (refd) Indriani, The [1996] 1 SLR (R) 5; [1996] 1 SLR 305 (refd) Interippu, The [1990] SGHC 131 (folld) Malaysia Shipyard and Engineering Sdn Bhd v Iron Shortland [1995] FCA 1565......
  • The ‘Bunga Melati 5’
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 Agosto 2011
    ...The [1993] 3 SLR (R) 209; [1994] 1 SLR 92 (refd) Hsing An, The [1971-1973] SLR (R) 843; [1972-1974] SLR 532 (refd) Indriani, The [1996] 1 SLR (R) 5; [1996] 1 SLR 305 (refd) ‘Iran Amanat’, The Owners of the Motor Vessel v KMP Coastal Oil Pte Ltd (1999) 196 CLR 130 (folld) J Faster, The [2000......
  • The "Bunga Melati 5"
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 Agosto 2011
    ...the merits of the dispute were not to be investigated by the court in an application to set aside the writ under O 12 r 7 (The Indriani [1996] 1 SLR(R) 5 at [17]), for at that stage the court was concerned exclusively with jurisdictional matters (whether of fact or of law). Order 12 r 7 of ......
  • The Alexandrea
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 Abril 2002
    ...21. Mr. Sin contended that the words "in respect of" in par. (l) should be substituted for the words "arising out of". In The "Indriani" [1996] 1 SLR 305, the words "arising out of" were interpreted widely to mean "connected with". On this wide interpretation, par. (l) would cover the Plain......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 books & journal articles
  • Admiralty, Shipping and Aviation Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2010, December 2010
    • 1 Diciembre 2010
    ...out of’, Chong JC considered authorities such as The Antonis P Lemos [1985] AC 711, The MARA [2000] 3 SLR(R) 31 and The Indriani [1996] 1 SLR(R) 5, and concluded that the courts have consistently ‘leaned towards a broad interpretation of the expression “arising out of “ to enlarge the types......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2006, December 2006
    • 1 Diciembre 2006
    ...supra n 42, at p 74. 51 The Trade Fair [1994] 3 SLR 827; Zarkovic Stanko v Owners of the Vessel, “MARA”[2000] 4 SLR 156. 52 The Indriani [1996] 1 SLR 305. 53 Keppel Corp itself. 54 See also the observation in Toh Kian Sing, Admiralty Law & Practice (Butterworths Asia, 1998) at p 40. 55 Supr......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 1997, December 1997
    • 1 Diciembre 1997
    ...The Maersk Nimrod[1992] 1 QB 571 at 581H. 35 [1995] 3 SLR 381. 36 Ibid, at 385D to E. 37 Ibid. 38 [1995] 3 SLR 381 at 387. 39 [1996] 1 SLR 305. 40 Ibid, at 311D. 41 [1996] 1 SLR 305. 42 Ibid, at 311H. 43 [1978] 1 FC 11 at 14. 44 Which is substantially similar to section 3(1)(h) of the HCAJA......
  • Admiralty and Shipping Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2000, December 2000
    • 1 Diciembre 2000
    ...(Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act. That approach, which is also exemplified in the earlier Court of Appeal decisions such as The Indriani[1996] 1 SLR 305 and The Trade Fair (supra), is to accord to the limbs of s 3(1) which confers admiralty jurisdiction on the High Court, a “broad and liberal c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT