Part 17: Admiralty Matters
- 146. Arrest of ships
- 147. Arrest of ships in shipyards
- 148. Form of undertaking
- 149. Release of vessel lying under arrest
- 150. Caveat against release
- 151. Filing of supporting documents
- 152. Hard copies at hearing of admiralty matters
- 153. Searches for caveats against arrest or release
- 154. Registration of service clerks for admiralty matters
- 155. Applications for appraisement and sale
146. Arrest of ships
(1) The claimant 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 will 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 33, Rule 11(5) of the Rules of Court 2021, 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 originating claim in an action in rem as soon as practicable after the warrant of arrest or the originating claim (as the case may be) is served in accordance with Order 33, Rule 11 of the Rules of Court 2021:
- (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 33, Rules 11(3)(a) and (4)(a)(ii) of the Rules of Court 2021, the claimant must annex a copy of the results of a search on the ship conducted on the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore website 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 originating claim in an action in rem (as the case may be).
147. Arrest of ships in shipyards
(1) In every case where a vessel is arrested in or within a shipyard, the claimant 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.
148. Form of undertaking
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, solicitors are requested to prepare the undertaking in the manner and form set out in Form B43 of Appendix B of these Practice Directions.
149. Release of vessel lying under arrest
(1) If the arresting party requires the Sheriff to attend at the port in which a vessel is lying under arrest for the purposes of releasing the vessel from arrest, whether during or after office hours, he or she must do so by filing the Request for Attendance of the Sheriff in Form B35 of Appendix B of these Practice Directions through the Electronic Filing Service. A Request for Attendance of the Sheriff made in any other manner will not be acceded to.
(2) The fees prescribed by the Fourth Schedule to the Rules of Court 2021 will be payable in respect of any attendance by the Sheriff.
150. Caveat against release
(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 33, Rule 13(2)(b) of the Rules of Court 2021 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 prior notice in sub-paragraph (1) has been given.
151. Filing of supporting documents
The attention of solicitors is drawn to paragraph 11 which sets out the opening hours of the Registry. Solicitors must ensure that the necessary documents are filed within the opening hours of the Registry to enable execution to be effected. The directions in paragraph 85 apply when an urgent application has to be made after the Registry’s opening hours.
152. Hard copies at hearing of admiralty matters
Order 33, Rule 27(2) of the Rules of Court 2021 provides that the party by whom an admiralty action is set down for trial must file any preliminary acts and a Request for the assessor’s attendance (where applicable) at least 14 days before the trial date, unless the Court otherwise orders. In addition to this rule, the party must tender 3 hard copies of the preliminary act(s) to the Registry.
153. Searches for caveats against arrest or release
(1) Order 33, Rule 4(2)(b) of the Rules of Court 2021 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 with respect to that property.
(2) Order 33, Rule 13(2) of the Rules of Court 2021 provides that a release must not be issued if a caveat against release is in force, unless, either (a) at the time of the issue of the release the property is under arrest in one or more other actions, or (b) the Court so orders.
(3) A party applying for either an arrest or release of a particular property must 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.
154. Registration of service clerks for admiralty matters
(1) Pursuant to Order 33, Rules 7(4) and 9(2) of the Rules of Court 2021, service of an originating claim 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) The attention of solicitors is drawn to paragraph 62(2) of these Practice Directions which requires solicitors to notify the Registry 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) Paragraph 62(3) to (5) of these Practice Directions, with the necessary modifications, apply to the assignment of the Sheriff to effect service of an originating claim or execute a warrant of arrest.
155. Applications for appraisement and sale
(1) Any party applying for the appraisement and sale of any property in an admiralty action must include a prayer to the Court to appoint 1 or more appraisers to value the property. The applicant must submit with the application a list of appraisers maintained by the Sheriff.
(2) The Court appointed appraiser(s) must be named in Form 58 of Appendix A of these Practice Directions.
(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 Registry upon request.