The "Permina 108"

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeChua F A J
Judgment Date26 November 1976
Neutral Citation[1976] SGCA 12
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 31 of 1976
Date26 November 1976
Published date19 September 2003
Year1976
Plaintiff CounselRichard Stone QC and S Selvadurai (Selvadurai & Emmanuel)
Citation[1976] SGCA 12
Defendant CounselMichael David Thomas QC and C Arul (Rodyk & Davidson)
CourtCourt of Appeal (Singapore)
Subject MatterAdmiralty jurisdiction of High Court,Admiralty jurisdiction and arrest,Warrant of arrest,Action in rem,Practice and procedure of action in rem,ss 3 & 4 High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 6, 1970 Ed),Admiralty and Shipping,Motion to set aside action in rem and warrant of arrest,Non-payment of charter hire under charterparty in respect of another ship

Cur Adv Vult

This is an appeal from a judgment of Choor Singh J dated 25 August 1976 dismissing a motion taken out by the appellants, the owners of the ship or vessel Permina 108 to set aside a writ in rem and a warrant of arrest directed against their ship Permina 108.

The Permina 108 was arrested by the respondents, Martropico Compania Naviera SA, in respect of a claim, stated in the endorsement of the writ to be a claim for non-payment of the charter hire due under a charterparty dated the 1 September 1970 in respect of the vessel Ibnu which is owned by the respondents.


According to an affidavit sworn by the general manager of the agents in Singapore for the respondents it appears that as at 22 July 1976 there was due and owing by the appellants to the respondents US$7,230,711.48 by way of unpaid charter hire in respect of the vessel Ibnu which was chartered by the appellants from the respondents under a charterparty dated the 1 September 1970.
It is not in dispute that the charterparty is a time-charterparty and that the charter hire is to be paid monthly. It is agreed that for the purposes of the motion the appellants are the owners of the Permina 108.

The appellants` case is that the respondents are not entitled to bring proceedings in rem against the Permina 108 because the claim asserted in relation to the charter of the Ibnu has no connection with the Permina 108, even if owned by the appellants.


The admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court is statutory and is defined by s 3(1) of the High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 6, 1970 Ed) in terms which, so far as relevant to the present appeal, are as follows:

The admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court shall be as follows, that is to say, jurisdiction to hear and determine any of the following questions or claims:

(h) any claim arising out of any agreement relating to ... the use or hire of a ship.



The mode of exercise of such admiralty jurisdiction is prescribed by s 4 of the Act, the relevant provisions of which are as follows:

(1) Subject to the provisions of s 5 of this Act the admiralty jurisdiction of the court may in all cases be invoked by an action in personam.

(4) In the case of any such claim as is mentioned in paras (d) to (q) of sub-s (1) to s 3 of this Act, being a claim in connection with a ship, where the person who would have been liable in an action in personam was, when the cause of action arose, the owner or charterer or person in possession or in control of, the ship, the admiralty jurisdiction of the court may (whether the claim gives rise to a maritime lien on the ship or not) be invoked by an action in rem against -

(a) that ship if at the time when the action is brought it is beneficially owned as respects all the shares therein by that person; or

(b) any other ship which, at the time when the action is brought, is beneficially owned as aforesaid.



The decision of this appeal turns on the construction of s 4(4).


The appellants` main contention is that on the proper construction of s 4(4) of the Act a ship, to be liable to arrest must, under cl (a), be the ship in connection with which the claim made in the action arose and which, at the time when the action is brought, is beneficially owned by the defendant to the action; or, under cl (b), any other ship which, at the time when the action is brought, is beneficially owned by the person who is the beneficial owner of the ship in connection with which the claim made in the action
...

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6 cases
  • The "Andres Bonifacio"
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 15 March 1991
    ... ... It is admitted that the Philippine Coast Guard is the registration authority of merchant vessels in the Philippines. The interpretation or construction of s 4(4) of the Act is now well settled by authority both in Singapore and in England. In ` The Permina 108 ` [1977] 1 MLJ 49 at p 50 Wee Chong Jin CJ delivering the judgment of the Court of Appeal said: ... In our judgment, on the true construction of s 4(4) of the Act, a ship to be liable to arrest must be: ... (a) The ship in connection with which the claim [being a claim ... ...
  • The "Jarguh Sawit"
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 January 1997
    ... ... He urged the court to look at the Arrest Convention of 1952 to arrive at the proper construction of this subsection. A similar invitation in respect of s 4(4) of the Act was made to the Court of Appeal in `The Permina 108` , where the court held that it would be wrong to look at the Convention to obtain the meaning of a section which is plain and unambiguous. In this regard, it is instructive to refer to the following comments by the Court of Appeal at p 50: ... In our opinion the terms of section 4(4) of ... ...
  • The Catur Samudra
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • Invalid date
  • The “Catur Samudra”
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 15 January 2010
    ...[1993] 2 SLR (R) 113; [1993] 2 SLR 698 (refd) Permina 108, The [1974-1976] SLR (R) 794; [1975-1977] SLR 525 (refd) Permina 108, The [1974-1976] SLR (R) 850; [1975-1977] SLR 221 (refd) Pangkalan Susu/Permina 3001, The [1977-1978] SLR (R) 1; [1975-1977] SLR 543 (refd) Port of Geelong Authorit......
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