The "Trade Fair"

CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeKarthigesu JA
Judgment Date27 May 1994
Neutral Citation[1994] SGCA 82
Citation[1994] SGCA 82
Subject MatterAdmiralty and Shipping,s 3(1)(f) High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123),Admiralty jurisdiction and arrest,Action in rem,Indemnity claim in respect of compensation paid under the Workmen's Compensation Act (Cap 354)
Defendant CounselLiew Teck Huat (Niru & Co)
Plaintiff CounselGoh Kok Leong (Ang & Pnrs)
Date21 October 1994
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 163 of 1993

Cur Adv Vult

The respondents commenced this admiralty action in rem against the owners of the ship or vessel Trade Fair (the appellants) on 26 November 1992 claiming an indemnity pursuant to s 18(b) of the Workmen`s Compensation Act (Cap 354) in the sum of $135,000. The admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court was invoked under s 3(1)(f) of the High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (hereafter referred to as `the Act`). However, long before that, on 5 August 1988, the Standard Steamship Owners` Protection and Indemnity Association (Bermuda) Ltd had furnished security on behalf of the appellants, in the form of a letter of undertaking, to answer the respondents` claim. The appellants, having entered an appearance on 10 July 1993, applied on 21 July 1993 to set aside the writ of summons on the ground that the respondents` claim did not come within the in rem jurisdiction of the court. The appellants also claimed for the return of the letter of undertaking for cancellation. The appellants` application was first heard by an assistant registrar who granted the orders sought by them but on appeal by the respondents to the High Court, Mr GP Selvam JC (as he then was) who heard the appeal allowed it and set aside the orders made by the assistant registrar. The learned judicial commissioner`s judgment is reported at [1994] 1 SLR 704 , against which judgment the appellants have now appealed.

The facts which gave rise to the respondents` claim are not in dispute. They are amply stated in the judgment of the learned judicial commissioner and may be summarized as follows. The Trade Fair arrived in Singapore on or about 22 April 1988 from Shanghai carrying a cargo of bagged soybean meal loaded in the No 3 deep tank. The respondents were engaged by the appellants to discharge the cargo. Teo Kuan Joo, Lim Ley and Ku Kim (collectively referred to as `the stevedores`) who were employees of the respondents within the meaning of the Workmen`s Compensation Act entered the No 3 deep tank for the purpose of discharging the cargo. Upon entering the No 3 deep tank the stevedores were overcome with hypoxia, as a result of which they immediately collapsed and subsequently died. The respondents, as the employers of the stevedores, consequently became liable to pay compensation in respect of each of them, under the provisions of the Workmen`s Compensation Act, in the sum of $45,000, making a total of $135,000.

The respondents by their statement of claim alleged that `the death of the stevedores was caused by hypoxia, the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere in No 3 deep tank having been severely reduced by reason of microbiological activity within the cargo and/or oxidation of the cargo and/or the internal walls on No 3 deep tank.` They further alleged that `the said reduction of the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere in No 3 deep tank and the consequent death of the stevedores was caused solely by the negligence of the defendants [the appellants], their servants or agents.` Extensive particulars of the alleged negligence of the appellants, their servants or agents were given and the respondents concluded by alleging that the appellants `would have been liable in damages to the stevedores and/or their legal personal representatives and/or their dependants for the death of the stevedores.`

Although the respondents had alleged in their statement of claim that they did pay compensation in the sum of $45,000 in respect of the death of each of the stevedores pursuant of the provisions of the Workmen`s Compensation Act, the appellants contended before us that there was no proof of such payment. They contended that since the respondents` claim under s 18(b) of the Workmen`s...

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9 cases
  • Zarkovic Stanko v Owners of the Ship or Vessel `MARA`
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 1 September 2000
    ...Belfast and County Down Railway [1947] NI 167 (refd) Saint Anna, The [1983] 1 WLR 895; [1983] 1 Lloyd's Rep 637 (refd) Trade Fair, The [1994] 3 SLR (R) 641; [1994] 3 SLR 827 (folld) Watson v Ramsay (1961) 78 WN (NSW) 64 (folld) High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123, 1985 Rev Ed)s......
  • The ‘Bunga Melati 5’
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 August 2011
    ...SLR 250 (refd) Thorlina, The [1985-1986] SLR (R) 258; [1984-1985] SLR 283 (not folld) Tolten, The [1946] P 135 (refd) Trade Fair, The [1994] 3 SLR (R) 641; [1994] 3 SLR 827 (refd) Uni-France Offshore Engineering Pte Ltd v The Owners of the Ship or Vessel ‘Interippu’ [1990] SGHC 131 (not fol......
  • The Alexandrea
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 April 2002
    ...22. Such an approach, he stated, would be in keeping with several decisions of the Court of Appeal (such as The "Trade Fair" [1994] 3 SLR 827"; Alexander G Tsavliris & Sons Maritime Co v Keppel Corp Ltd [1995] 2 SLR 113) where some provisions of s. 3(1) of the Act were given a wide and libe......
  • The "Indriani"
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 12 January 1996
    ...[1983] 1 Lloyd's Rep 295 (distd) St Elefterio, The [1957] P 179; [1957] 1 Lloyd's Rep 283; [1957] 2 All ER 374 (distd) Trade Fair, The [1994] 3 SLR (R) 641; [1994] 3 SLR 827 (refd) High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap 123, 1985 Rev Ed)s 3 (1) (h) (consd);ss 3 (1) (f), 3 (1) (i) Admi......
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