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Part XVI: Admiralty Matters

124. Arrest of ships

(1) The plaintiff will apply to a Judge for an omnibus order in every casewhere 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 Admiralty Court Guide (which may be found as Schedule 1 of the Registrar’s Circular No. 1 of 2018 and which may be amended from time to time) (the “Admiralty Court Guide”).

(2) Solicitors representing plaintiffs 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 againstthe solicitors concerned.

(3) Upon the arrest of vessel, funds are required immediately to meet the Sheriff’s expenses, such as 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.

124A. Arrest of ships in shipyards

(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.

125. 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, members of the Bar are requested to prepare the undertaking in accordance with Form 24 of Appendix A of these Practice Directions.

126. 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 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.

126A. 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 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.

127. Filing of supporting documents

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.

128. Hard copies at hearing of admiralty matters

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.

129. Searches for caveats against arrest or release

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.

130. Registration of service clerks for admiralty matters

(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.

130A. Applications for appraisement and sale

(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 B to the Rules of Court.

(3) The list of appraisers referred to in sub-paragraph (1) may be found on the Supreme Court website at http://www.supremecourt.gov.sg or will be provided by the Legal Registry of the Supreme Court upon request.