Part XVI: Admiralty Matters
124. Arrest of ships124A. Arrest of ships in shipyards125. Form of undertaking126. Release of vessel lying under arrest126A. Caveat against release127. Filing of supporting documents128. Hard copies at hearing of admiralty matters129. Searches for caveats against arrest or release130. Registration of service clerks for admiralty matters130A. Applications for appraisement and sale
(1) The plaintiff will apply to a Judge for an omnibus order in every case where a ship or vessel is arrested, giving the Sheriff discretion to take various measures for the safe and satisfactory custody of the arrested property. The usual prayers in the application for an omnibus order are prayers 7 to 11 of Annex B (Standard Appraisement and Sale Prayers and Omnibus Prayers) to the current edition of the Admiralty Court Guide issued pursuant to a Registrar’s Circular (the “Admiralty Court Guide”).
(2) Solicitors representing arresting parties in admiralty proceedings are required to provide an undertaking that the Sheriff shall be indemnified and be provided with sufficient funds as and when required by the Sheriff to meet the charges and expenses that may be incurred in consequence of their request for the arrest of a vessel. If such an undertaking is not fulfilled within a reasonable time, the Sheriff may take such steps as may be necessary to enforce the undertaking against the solicitors concerned.
(3) Upon the arrest of vessel, funds are required immediately to meet the Sheriff’s expenses, such as security guard charges, port and garbage dues, and the supply of minimum victuals, domestic fuel and water to crew members where necessary. Funds to meet such expenses are not provided for by the Government.
(4) To enable the Sheriff to discharge his duties effectively, upon the arrest of a vessel, the Sheriff will require the solicitors representing arresting parties to deposit with the Sheriff a sum of $10,000. Such deposit is in addition to the usual undertaking.
(5) During the relevant period as defined in Order 70, Rule 10A(5) of the Rules of Court, the solicitors representing arresting parties must make reasonable efforts to notify the following persons and entities in writing of the service of the warrant of arrest or the writ in an action in rem as soon as practicable after the warrant of arrest or the writ (as the case may be) is served in accordance with Order 70, Rule 10A(1) of the Rules of Court:
(a) the owner of the ship;(b) the demise charterer (if any) of the ship;(c) the Master of the ship;(d) the manager of the ship; and(e) if the ship is in a shipyard — the shipyard.
(6) For the purposes of Order 70, Rules 10A(3)(a) and (4)(a)(ii) of the Rules of Court, the plaintiff must annex a copy of the results of a search on the ship conducted on the website of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore at https://digitalport.mpa.gov.sg showing:
(a) the identity of the agent of the ship; and(b) the location of the ship or, where the property is cargo, the ship in which the cargo was carried, within the limits of the port declared under section 3(1) of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Act 1996, on the date and at the time of the service of the warrant of arrest or the writ in an action in rem (as the case may be).
(7) Throughout the arrest of a vessel, the solicitors representing the arresting party must engage ship watch services and provide daily updates to the Sheriff on the location of the vessel.
(8) The Sheriff may require the arresting party to deploy a security guard on board the vessel under arrest for the whole or any part of the period when the vessel is under arrest. The circumstances in which the Sheriff may require the deployment of a security guard on board the vessel under arrest include, but are not limited to:
(a) the discharge of cargo from the vessel;(b) the moving of the vessel from berth to anchorage, and the other way around;(c) any actual or potential unrest on the vessel; and(d) any other circumstance that may affect the preservation of the vessel.
(1) In every case where a vessel is arrested in or within a shipyard, the plaintiff must, within 14 days of the arrest or within 3 days from a request by a shipyard to move the vessel, whichever is the earlier, apply to a Judge for an omnibus order giving the Sheriff discretion to take appropriate measures for the safe and satisfactory custody of the arrested property.
(2) The usual prayers in the application for an omnibus order are prayers 7 to 11 of Annex B (Standard Appraisement and Sale Prayers and Omnibus Prayers) to the Admiralty Court Guide. In addition, in circumstances where the shipyard is asserting a possessory lien against the vessel, the omnibus order should stipulate that the order is without prejudice to the shipyard’s possessory lien.
In order to ensure that there is no undue delay in the issuance and execution of warrants of arrest and release as well as commissions for appraisement and sale, members of the Bar are requested to prepare the undertaking in accordance with Form 24 of Appendix A of these Practice Directions.
(1) If the arresting party requires the Sheriff to attend at the port in which a vessel is lying under arrest for the purpose of releasing the vessel from arrest, whether during or after office hours, he or she must do so by filing the requisite Request for attendance electronic form tothe Sheriff through the Electronic Filing Service. A Request for attendance made in any other manner will not be acceded to.
(2) The fees prescribed by Appendix B to the Rules of Court will be payable in respect of any attendance by the Sheriff.
(1) With respect to property as to which a caveat against release is in force, a party, before applying for the issuance of a release, must give at least 24 hours’ prior written notice to any party at whose instance a subsisting caveat against release has been entered to either withdraw the caveat or arrest the property in another action.
(2) A release may be issued by the Court pursuant to Order 70, Rule 12(2)(b) with respect to property as to which a caveat against release is in force if such caveat is not withdrawn or where the caveator has failed to arrest the property in another action notwithstanding that the prior notice in paragraph (1) has been given.
The attention of solicitors is drawn to paragraph 9 which sets out the opening hours of the Legal Registry of Supreme Court. Solicitors shall ensure that the necessary documents are filed within the opening hours of the Legal Registry to enable execution to be effected. The directions in paragraph 11 apply when an urgent application has to be made after the Legal Registry’s opening hours.
Order 70, Rule 26 of the Rules of Court provides that the party by whom an admiralty action is set down for trial must file any preliminary act and a Request for an assessor’s attendance (where applicable) not less than 7 days before the trial. In addition to this rule, the party must tender 3 hard copies of the preliminary act(s) to the Legal Registry ofthe Supreme Court.
Order 70, Rule 4(2)(b) of the Rules of Court provides that the party applying for a warrant of arrest to be issued must procure a search to be made in the record of caveats to ascertain whether there is a caveat against arrest in force. Order 70, Rule 12(2) provides that a release shall not be issued if a caveat against release is in force, unless, either (a) at the time of the issue of release the property is under arrest in one or more other actions, or (b) the Court so orders. A party applying for either arrest or release of a particular property shall provide documentation evidencing a search for caveats against arrest or release, as the case may be, reflecting a search done no more than 15 minutes before the hearing of the application.
(1) Pursuant to Order 70, Rule 7(3) and Rule 9(2) of the Rules of Court, service of a writ or execution of a warrant of arrest may be effected by a solicitor or a solicitor’s clerk whose name and particulars have been notified to the Registrar.
(2) Solicitors’ attention is drawn to paragraph 32(2) of these Practice Directions which requires solicitors to notify the Legal Registry of the Supreme Court of the particulars of authorised process servers, who have been authorised by them to serve processes and execute warrants of arrest by submitting a request to authorise user through the Electronic Filing Service. Where such authorised process servers are no longer so authorised, solicitors are to revoke or delete the authorisation immediately by submitting a request through the Electronic Filing Service. Solicitors’ clerks do not require the authorisation of the Registrar to effect personal service of processes and documents.
(3) Paragraphs 32(3) to 32(6) of these Practice Directions shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to the assignment of the Sheriff to effect service of a writ or execute a warrant of arrest.
(1) Any party applying for the appraisement and sale of any property in an admiralty action shall include a prayer to the Court to appoint one or more appraisers to value the property. The applicant shall submit with the application a list of appraisers maintained by the Sheriff.
(2) The Court appointed appraiser(s) must be named in Form 170 of Appendix A to the Rules of Court.
(3) The list of appraisers referred to in sub-paragraph (1) may be found on the Singapore Courts website at https://www.judiciary.gov.sg/services/sheriff-services-admiralty-actions or will be provided by the Legal Registry of the Supreme Court upon request.