The Wigwam; The owners of the ship or vessel "Wigwam" v Inter Maritime Chipping (Pte) Ltd.

JudgeSinnathuray J
Judgment Date14 September 1984
Neutral Citation[1984] SGCA 24
Published date11 August 2009
CourtCourt of Appeal (Singapore)
Plaintiff CounselP Selvadurai
Defendant CounselHiew Hin Chung

1 The Appellants were at all material times the owners of the vessels "WIGWAM" and "WABASHA." These 2 vessels were among the 23 vessels purchased by the Appellants from Pertamina for scrap under a sale agreement made on November 13, 1979. Before the vessels could be broken up for scrap, certain works had to be done including cleaning of tanks and gas freeing. Accordingly, by an agreement dated January 21, 1980 (the "Work Agreement") made between the Appellants and P.T. Werkudara Sakti ("Sakti"), the latter agreed for a lump sum to carry out certain works on the said vessels including towing and cleaning of the tanks of the "WIGWAM" and the "WABASHA." Sakti did not carry out the works but sub-contracted the same to EMKL Fajar Kemenangan P.T. ("EMKL") by an agreement dated February 7, 1980 ("Sub-Contract"), and the latter caused the "WIGWAM" and the "WABASHA" to be towed to Singapore and subsequently entered into an agreement dated May 16, 1980 ("Agency Agreement") with the Respondents, who are shipping agents, managers and operators carrying on business in the port of Singapore.

2 Pursuant to the Agency Agreement the Respondents acted as the agent for the vessels, "WIGWAM" and "WABASHA" (the "two Vessels") and supplied goods and materials to them for their operation and maintenance and incurred disbursements on their account, in respect of all of which no payment was received by the Respondents. On November 26, 1980 the Respondents took out a writ in rem against the Appellants claiming the sum of $613,664.12 for goods and materials supplied to the Vessels for the period May 17 to November 17, 1980 and for disbursements incurred on account of the two Vessels at the request and/or to the order of the Defendants, their servants or agents plus interest thereon and agency fees. The writ was not served until about 7 months later. In the meanwhile, the representatives of the Respondents had series of discussions with representatives of Sakti and EMKL and also with the representatives of the Appellants relating to the two Vessels and the payment of the amount claimed by the Respondents. Unfortunately these discussions had not resulted in any payment, and on July 3, 1981 the writ (before service thereof) was amended by the Respondents pursuant to Order 20 Rule 1 of the Rules of the Supreme Court by altering :(i) the amount claimed to $1,513,671.72 and (ii) the period, for which the amount was incurred, to that between May 17, 1980 and June 30, 1981. Immediately thereafter the writ was served and the vessel, "WIGWAM" was arrested; the "WABASHA" had prior to that date been towed away from Singapore without the knowledge of the Respondents.

3 The Appellants on July 28, 1981 applied by way of Notice of Motion to set aside the writ of summons and all subsequent proceedings and the warrant of arrest on the "WIGWAM" on the ground of want of jurisdiction in rem under section 4(4) of the High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (Cap. 6) and/or non-compliance with the provisions of the said section. In the application the Appellants also asked for damages for wrongful arrest.

4 It is common ground that at the time when the goods and materials were supplied and disbursements incurred and at the time when the writ was issued the...

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3 cases
  • The ‘Bunga Melati 5’
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 August 2011
    ...Shipping Co Ltd v Confederation Ltd [2000] 1 NZLR 37 (refd) Wigwam, The [1981-1982] SLR (R) 689; [1982-1983] SLR 185 (folld) Wigwam, The [1984] SGCA 24 (folld) Yaku Shin (JB) Sdn Bhd v Panasonic AVC Networks Singapore Pte Ltd [2008] 4 SLR (R) 193; [2008] 4 SLR 193 (refd) Yuta Bondarovskaya,......
  • The "Eagle Prestige"
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 March 2010
    ...had disclosed conflicting evidence which could only be resolved at trial. Chua J’s decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal (see [1984] SGCA 24 at [12]). The assumption under s 4(4)(b) of the HCAJA- that a party would be liable on the claim in an action in personam on the assumption that ......
  • The "Bunga Melati 5"
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 August 2011 strike out the proceedings. On appeal (The Wigwam; The Owners of the ship or vessel “Wigwam” v Inter Maritime shipping (Pte) Ltd [1984] SGCA 24 (“The Wigwam (CA)”), the Court of Appeal (at [7]) agreed with Chua J and expressly approved of Willmer J’s approach in The St Elefterio. Similar......
1 books & journal articles
  • Admiralty, Shipping and Aviation Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2011, December 2011
    • 1 December 2011
    ...P 179 (The St Elefterio) (which was applied in an earlier decision: The Wigwam[198182] SLR(R) 689 (The Wigwam), affirmed on appeal [1984] SGCA 24). In The St Elefterio, the defendants had attempted to set aside the plaintiffs' action in rem on the ground that the court's admiralty jurisdict......

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