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16 Apr 2018

Singapore Apex Court To Issue Grounds Of Decision Clarifying The Juridical Nature Of Shipping Liens Over Sub-Freights

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"Singapore Apex Court To Issue Grounds Of Decision Clarifying The Juridical Nature Of Shipping Liens Over Sub-Freights 14/04/2018 https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/singapore-singapore-apex-court-to-i... On 5 March 2018, a five-member Court of Appeal (comprising the Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and the Honourable Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang Boon Leong, Judith Prakash, Steven Chong and Tay Yong Kwang) heard the ship-owner’s appeal against the Singapore High Court’s decision in Duncan, Cameron Lindsay and another v Diablo Fortune Inc and another matter [2017] SGHC 172. This landmark decision has been closely watched because of its significance to the shipping industry. The liquidators, who had prevailed in the court below, were once again successfully represented in the appeal by Shook Lin & Bok’s partner Debby Lim (assisted by associate Cheryl Chong). Professor Hans Tjio of the National University of Singapore was also appointed as amicus curiae for the appeal. Essentially, the liquidators had filed an application in the Singapore High Court to void a lien over sub-freight for non-registration under section 131 of the Singapore Companies Act. The Singapore High Court had considered, for the first time in Singapore, the juridical nature of a lien over sub-freights. In a watershed decision by the Honourable Judicial Commissioner Audrey Lim, the High Court found that the lien over sub-freights was a charge that was void for non-registration under section 131 of the Companies Act. The Court also refused the ship-owner’s application for a stay of proceedings, and for an extension of time to register the charge. Subsequently, the ship-owner filed an appeal in relation to the issue of whether the lien over sub-freights was a charge that had to be registered. At the appeal, there was a fervent debate involving three different possible characterisations of a lien over sub-freights. The ship-owner argued that such a lien merely confers a sui generis personal contractual right to intercept sub-freights, primarily because there is no immediate proprietary interest granted with the lien. The liquidators on the other hand argued that the lien was an equitable assignment by way of security. The amicus curiae argued based on the Singapore Court of Appeal decision in Asiatic Enterprises (Pte) Ltd v UOB [1999] 3 SLR(R) 976, that the lien was a “springing security” or an agreement to give a charge in the future. On both the liquidators’ and the amicus curiae’s arguments, the lien was indeed registrable, however, there was a difference as to when the need for registration arose. The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision – agreeing with the liquidator’s interpretation of how such a lien should be classified – and dismissed the ship-owner’s appeal immediately after hearing oral arguments, but indicated that it would issue grounds of decision at a later date. The Court of Appeal’s grounds of decision is much anticipated by both the admiralty and insolvency communities, as it will clarify a legal issue which has not been previously tested by an appellate court in a common law jurisdiction (there having only been a few English High Court decisions on the juridical nature of a lien over sub-freights). A further update will be provided upon the release of the written judgment. In the meantime, it will be prudent for ship-owners to register their lien(s) over sub-freights."

13 Apr 2018

Fuel Tester Veritas Issues High Abrasive Bunker Fuel Alert In Singapore

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"Fuel testing agency Veritas Petroleum Services has issued to industry participants on Monday a fuel quality alert to look out for highly abrasive bunker fuel supplied in Singapore, according to the advisory seen by S&P Global Platts late Tuesday. The advisory said it had ""tested several fuel oil samples representing HFO deliveries in Singapore with Aluminium and Silicon (Al+Si) concentrations ranging up to 102 mg/kg"". The deliveries were made by multiple suppliers from April 1 to April 6, it added. The International Organization for Standardization's ISO 8217:2005 standard for RMG 380 marine residual fuel, which is the fuel specification typically guaranteed in most contracts entered into between buyers and sellers of the bunker fuel grade in Singapore, limits maximum Al+Si at 80 mg/kg. ""Elevated amounts of these highly abrasive particles cause accelerated wear of diesel engine components, such as piston rings, cylinder liners and fuel pumps if not reduced to acceptable levels,"" the alert showed. Ships receiving high Al+Si fuels are recommended to take Fuel System Check samples to assess the fuel treatment efficiency and to know the fuel oil quality at the engine inlet, VPS said. ""This will help in any subsequent assessment of increased engine wear and damages, and in resolving fuel quality disputes."" ""At the moment we can't comment on any specific client due to confidentiality issues. We do have some client feedback on fuel quality [dispute], but I can't comment on the details,"" a VPS source familiar with the matter Wednesday said"

10 Apr 2018

ACCC: K Line Pleads Guilty To Criminal Cartel Conduct In Australia

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"Japan’s shipping major Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct in Australia’s Federal Court on April 5, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said. K Line’s plea follows an investigation by the ACCC and charges laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to cartel conduct concerning the international shipping of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia between July 2009 and September 2012. ACCC informed that the matter will now proceed to sentencing and is next scheduled for a sentencing hearing in the Federal Court on November 15 and 16, 2018. This is the second guilty plea in Australia in relation to this cartel. In July 2016, K Line’s compatriot Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct. The cartel operated from at least February 1997 and affected vehicles transported to Australia by NYK and other shipping lines from locations in Asia, the US and Europe on behalf of major car manufacturers including Nissan, Suzuki, Honda, Toyota and Mazda. In August 2017, NYK was convicted and fined AUD 25 million (around USD 19.2 million), the second-highest imposed in ACCC’s history. The Commission earlier informed that the maximum fine for each criminal cartel offence would be the greater of AUD 10 million; three times the total benefits that have been obtained and are reasonably attributable to the commission of the offence; or, if the total of the benefits cannot be determined, ten percent of the corporation’s annual turnover connected with Australia. The ACCC’s investigation into other alleged cartel participants is continuing."

02 Apr 2018

Singapore reports growth of 25% in Indian cruise tourists

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"Singapore-based cruise companies are reporting strong growth in footfall of Indian tourists, with some 127,000 of them having sailed on luxury liners last year, up 25 per cent from 2016. Industry players have also noted a jump in fly-cruise tourists from India. A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said the company believes the Indian market “has potential to grow at double-digit rates”. “We are seeing an increasing number of Indian tourists booking fly-cruise packages to Singapore as the island is a regional hub and port… From Singapore, the tourists are able to visit a number of other countries depending on the cruise package they have booked,” the spokesperson said. A Royal Caribbean spokesperson said the number of Indian guests taking its cruises has increased by 10 per cent to 20 per cent yearly, especially after the arrival of its Voyager Class ships to South-east Asia in 2013. Indian tourists like the convenience of packing for one trip but being able to travel to several countries at one time, the spokesperson added. In 2017, international visitor arrivals in Singapore increased by 6.2 per cent to 17.4 million, with those from India posting the highest growth rate of 16 per cent, according to Singapore Tourism Board."

25 Mar 2018

KRA Canal : New Gateway to Maritime Silk Road

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"Despite a history going back three centuries, the highly controversial and politically sensitive proposed Kra Canal mega-project in southern Thailand is once again up for debate. At a forum held yesterday by Rangsit University entitled the “Stakeholders in Kra Canal@Klong Thai”, national security and the canal’s impact on tourism were among the main issues of concern as experts made their cases for and against the project.The forum urged the government to set up a national committee to conduct a feasibility study on all concerned aspects of the “New Gateway to Maritime Silk Road” project. General Pongthep Thesprateep, chairman of Thai Canal Association (TCA) – a group of influential former top brass soldiers advocating the project – called on the government to set up a national committee that can help reach a decisive conclusion on the long-envisioned channel that would run through the country’s southern isthmus. “The project has both pros and cons, so if the committee concludes that the canal would benefit the country it should be pursued, otherwise the proposed project can be scrapped,” Pongthep said, referring to many discussions about the project in Thai society for more than a century that had led to no clear decision. According to a study by TCA, he said the canal would benefit the country as it would connect the Indian and Pacific oceans and dramatically shorten East-West shipping routes. The TCA study claims that 65 per cent of people in the South, which will be affected by the project, were agreeable to it. Anek Laothamatas, the Political Reform Committee chairman who was introduced at the forum as an expert on the route proposal for the canal, said that in ancient times people travelled by sea hence he thought Thailand needed to exercise its “sea power”, as the Kingdom has an advantage in geo-politics. Thailand is among a few countries that benefits from its location between two oceans – Pacific and Indian – while China, a country 20 times bigger than Thailand, has access to only one ocean, Anek said. “It’s not a big deal or a new matter. We should not be afraid. We should be brave [to make a decision]. Our country has developed to this stage because we are linked to the sea. We should not see it as an obstruction but a linkage with others,” he said. Samart Ratchapolsitte, former Bangkok deputy governor and ex-Democrat MP, suggested that the government treat the project as state policy and initiate a Southern Economic Corridor similar to its Eastern Economic Corridor initiative. Samart supported the setting up of a national committee to study the project as he was concerned about the worthiness of the project or how many cargo ships would use the new route, as compared to the existing routes. An opponent of the canal project, Admiral Jumpol Loompikanon, a deputy permanent secretary at the Defence Ministry, said the country needed to balance geo-politics and geo-economics. Jumpol, a Royal Thai Navy spokesman and a member of the marine and coastal resources strategy panel, added that judging from the past he was worried about disputes arising between super powers and neighbouring countries. He cited the conflict over the Spratly Islands between China and the Philippines. He said it was difficult for security agencies to decide whether to pursue the project because more comprehensive information was still needed. Thon Thamrongnawasawat, the deputy dean of the fisheries faculty at Kasetsart University, raised concerns over the impact on tourism and environment if a canal was dug as proposed. The proposed route will pass some tourist attractions in the South, including Phuket and Krabi. The tourism industry generates around Bt3 trillion for the country annually and is ranked number three in the world, according to a report of the World Tourism Organisation, he said. Torn did not express an opinion on the project but cautioned about the dangers to tourism and the environment, citing the oil spill in the Gulf of Thailand, off the coast of Koh Samet and Map Ta Phut in Rayong Province in 2013. “What is the risk management going to be like? The proposed canal route would run past tourist areas in the Andaman Sea that generate about 40 per cent or almost Bt2 trillion of the total revenue from the tourism industry,” he added. Former Second Army commander Lt-General Tawatchai Samutsakorn, who supported the idea of setting up a committee to study the project, said Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha had told him that the premier would not be in power long enough to pursue the project. “Prayut told me that the right time [for the project] has yet to come,” Tawatchai, a former classmate of Prayut, told the forum. However, Tawatchai, who serves as vice chairman of TCA, believes any political party campaigning for the proposed man-made waterway, which will link the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, could win at least 10,000 votes from voters in each of the southern provinces in the next election. Tawatchai claimed that former prime minister and chief adviser of the Democrat Party, Chuan Leekpai, whose political stronghold lies in the South, supported the project and said if the country delays making progress, it would lag behind other countries."

22 Mar 2018

ITF recommends shareholders vote against ICTSI directors

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"The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) today released a shareholder advisory note detailing governance issues at International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI). The ITF is recommending that ICTSI shareholders vote against directors Stephen A. Paradies and Jon Aboitiz at ICTSI’s 2018 Annual Stockholders’ Meeting on 19 April 2018. The ITF believes that these directors bear meaningful responsibility for major governance and operational issues at the company. Paddy Crumlin, president of the ITF and vice-chair of the ITUC’s Committee on Workers Capital (CWC) said: “ICTSI has grown over the last decade. This growth has been accompanied by a failure to put in place decent and sustainable governance structures in line with accepted international best-practice. “Proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), the ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard and the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) all recommend that firms have at least three independent directors. Yet ICTSI only has two independent directors, out of a board of seven. “The fact that the Razon family hold over 60 per cent of the voting rights at ICTSI, the lack of board independence should be a major concern for shareholders.” The ITF notes that even ICTSI’s own documents highlights this as a risk to outside shareholders: ""…the Razon Family exercises control over or has significant ability to influence major policy decisions of the Company, including its overall strategic and investment decisions, dividend plans, issuances of securities, adjustments to its capital structure, mergers, liquidation or other reorganisation and amendments to its Articles of Incorporation and By-laws. ""If the interests of the Razon family conflict with the interests of other shareholders of the Company, there can be no assurance that the Razon Family would not cause the Company to take action in a matter which might differ from the interests of the other shareholders.” Paddy Crumlin added: “The Board Risk Oversight Committee, chaired by Mr. Paradies, has failed to ensure that ICTSI’s internal controls are significant enough to avoid major operational issues, including major port disputes and relationships with censured regimes. “In the last 18 months, ICTSI has seen protracted disputes at five terminals, disputes that have directly affected multiple port stakeholders, including governments, global brands and shipping lines. 40 per cent of ICTSI’s ports are operated with partnerships involving regimes that are either internationally censured or under investigation for crimes against humanity. “These directors seem to have been unsuccessful in guiding the company towards outcomes that are better for all shareholders. We call on shareholders to vote against these directors and send a message to ICTSI management that these governance issues must be addressed.” The ITF believes greater board independence will help ensure that minority shareholder interests are safeguarded. Additionally, the Philippines SEC recommends that directors with more than nine years of Board membership should not be considered independent. If this recommendation was rigorously enforced at ICTSI, none of its directors would qualify as independent."

22 Mar 2018

Singapore ship brokering mobile application enhances global S&P scene

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"Sovereign Shipping Global has developed a 'free for commercial use' mobile application for all to view historical transacted prices of ships Local shipbroking company Sovereign Shipping Global (SSG) is leading the way in digital transformation by developing a mobile application for ship sales and purchase (S&P). Mr Wong Hong Lee, Managing Director of Sovereign Shipping Global said, “Small shipbroking firms have archaic and simplistic data mining methods. Shipbrokers typically sieve through hundreds of emails on a daily basis to collate information on available and transacted vessels from market reports, and then manually key the data into an excel worksheet for reference when meeting their clients. “The SSG app conveniently solves this issue for free. Vessel S&P information in the app's database is verified from various sources before being made available for use and is continually being updated, so users can confidently rely on the data to make informed decisions at the convenience of a single click,” shared Mr Wong. SSG is sharing the app globally on a complimentary basis with all involved in vessel S&P. As a shipbroking veteran of 15 years, Mr Wong said, “To attract and groom successful shipbrokers, we need to provide them with innovative tools for increased work productivity and effectiveness, so that they, in turn, can provide the necessary expertise to develop strong relationships with shipowners, shipyards, financiers and everyone concerned.” The SSG application is available in both iOS and Android versions, easily downloadable to mobile devices from iTunes or Google Play store via search keyword “Sovereign Shipping”. It allows registered users to: • Search and filter past vessel sales transactions in the market of tankers, product carriers, bulkers, container ships, gas carriers, MPP (multipurpose vessels), ROPAX (roll- on/roll-off passenger) and RoRo (Roll-on/roll-off) ships. • Make vessel sale and purchase enquiries directly to Sovereign’s shipbrokers Sovereign Shipping Global is exhibiting at the Asia Pacific Maritime 2018 at booth E-P06 located within the Singapore Pavilion at Level B2 of the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre. Sovereign Shipping Global Pte Ltd (SSG) is a Singapore-based shipbroking firm with in-depth expertise of the shipping industry. Besides predominantly acting as a vessel Sales and Purchase (SNP) intermediary between buyers and sellers of various types of ships, SSG also provides a comprehensive range of services. These include consultancy in newbuilding and vessel demolition projects, contract negotiations, liaising with naval architects, equipment vendors and sourcing of shipyards, amongst other services offered for the benefit of its clients in South East Asia."

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