Vessel Arrest in Singapore as security for Foreign Court Proceedings
A recent decision handed down by the Singapore High Court has confirmed that a vessel arrest in this country for the sole purpose of obtaining security in aid of foreign litigation proceedings will not be entertained. In the case EUROHOPE (2017) SGHC 218 the Charterers sought to arrest the vessel “Eurohope” as security for a charter party claim against with her owners. The charter party was subject to English law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the London High Court where the Charterers had commenced proceedings. Charterers’ writ was struck out and the warrant of arrest set aside by the Singapore Court on grounds it constituted an abuse of process in circumstances where Charterers did not show evidence of having the substantive action heard by the Singapore Court. The Court further ordered that the letter of undertaking issued by the American P&I Association on behalf of the Owners be returned to the defendant or their solicitors for cancellation. Interestingly, the Court declined to order damages for wrongful arrest finding there was no bad faith or malicious negligence on the part on the plaintiff in bringing the action.
The situation is different in relation to a security demand made pursuant to foreign arbitration proceedings where there is settled law that security can be obtained through the arrest of a vessel in Singapore waters without risk of the Singapore Court demanding to hear the substantive action.
The full judgement can be read here: