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Case Report: Claim For Unpaid Slot Fees: Should Proceedings Be Stayed For Arbitration
April 2011 | Finance | Maritime | Litigation & Arbitration | Maritime | Maritime | Starboard

Janice NGEOW
Lawrence TEH

The related cases of The "Makassar Caraka Jaya Niaga III-39" - [2010] SGHC 306 The "Pontianak Caraka Jaya Niaga III-34" - [2010] SGHC 307 applied the decision in Tjong Very Sumito on the issue of prevarication on the alleged debtor's part as to whether there is a "dispute" between the parties warrants a stay of proceedings.

ANL Singapore Ltd commenced an admiralty in rem claim for unpaid slot fees under a slot charterparty. ANL arrested both vessels as security for its claim. Both vessels are owned by PTDL which raised the same grounds to resist arrest:- (i) that the Indonesian government, and not PTDL, was the true owner of the ships, as the state had furnished the vessel construction loan; and (ii) that the main proceedings should be stayed in favour of arbitration.

On the first issue, the judge accepted the opinion by the creditor's expert that Indonesian law does not support PTDL's assertion that the vessels were State assets, thus PTDL failed to displace the presumption of ownership arising from the registration of the vessels in its name.

On the second issue, judge referred to the earlier decision of Tjong Very Sumito and found this to be the kind of prevarication dealt with by the Court of Appeal in that case. As such, the judge dismissed the appeal against the registrar's earlier decision to stay the proceedings in favour of foreign arbitration.