Sumitomo v. Alexandrea
DMC Rating Category: Developed
This case note has been supplied by Ang and Partners, the International Contributors for Singapore
"ALEXANDREA" applied for the warrant of arrest to be set aside on two grounds: first, that the admiralty jurisdiction under section 4(4) of the High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act (the "Act") had been improperly invoked; second, that there was material non-disclosure in Sumitomo’s affidavit leading to the warrant of arrest. "ALEXANDREA" claimed damages for wrongful arrest. The assistant registrar (at first instance) dismissed the application and "ALEXANDREA" appealed to the High Court.
The main issues to be determined by the High Court were
The relevant provisions of the Act read as follows
2. The words " in respect of" in section 3(1)(l) of the Act imported a broad rather than a restrictive meaning. The ordinary and natural meaning of the words used in section 3(1)(l) was wide enough to cover claims framed in tort but only where the wrongdoing related to or was referable to the primary ship supplied with goods or materials for her operation or maintenance. Sumitomo’s claim for negligence did not fall within section 3(1)(l). As to the types of cases in tort that could be covered under this provision, each case would be required to be decided on its own facts.
3. Even if Sumitomo’s claim fell within section 3(1)(l), it did not come within section 4(4) of the Act. The Court held that "a ship" in the phrase "being a claim arising in connection with a ship" in section 4(4) is the same ship to which goods or materials were supplied in section 3(1)(l). In this case, "ALEXANDREA" was not the ship to which goods or materials were supplied in section 3(1)(l) (that ship was "FRONT MELODY"). Therefore, "ALEXANDREA" was not the ship in connection with which the claim arose for the purpose of section 4(4).
4. As the Court’s conclusions on sections 3(1)(l) and 4(4) were sufficient to dispose of the appeal, it was unnecessary to decide on the alleged material non-disclosure.
5. The application by "ALEXANDREA" for damages for wrongful arrest was dismissed as there was no evidence to show that the arrest was malicious.
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