A collision between two shipping vessels, the “A Symphony” and the “Sea Justice” occurred off the coast of Qingdao on 27 April 2021.

The collision substantially damaged the hull, cargo, and equipment of the “A Symphony” and led to a significant marine pollution incident.

Symphony Shipbuilding SA, is a company incorporated in the Republic of Liberia. They were the owner of the vessel “A Symphony”.

On the other hand, Sea Justice Ltd, is a company incorporated in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. It was the owner of the Panamanian-flagged vessel “Sea Justice” at the time of the collision.

Both the “A Symphony” and the “Sea Justice” were, at different times, sold and renamed after this admiralty action was filed.

Symphony Shipbuilding filed on 28 April 2021 against Sea Justice, claiming that the collision was caused by the negligent navigation, control, and/or management of the defendant and/or their servants or agents of the “Sea Justice”.

The Defendant, Sea Justice applied on April 30 to the Qingdao Maritime Court in the PRC to constitute a limitation fund for all maritime claims arising from the collision.

Other legal actions at that time have also been taken by both parties Symphony Shipbuilding and Sea Justice.

On 19 October 2022, Symphony Shipbuilding got wind that the “Sea Justice” was about to enter Singapore waters. On the same day, applied for a warrant of arrest against the “Sea Justice”, based on a maritime lien arising out of the collision. The plaintiff’s application was granted on 19 October 2022.  The “Sea Justice” was arrested on 20 October 2022 after entering Singapore port limits.

The “Sea Justice” was released on 19 November 2022, following an agreement between the parties that the defendant would provide security for the claim in Singapore.

The General Division of the High Court of Singapore has told the parties that the Qingdao Court is “clearly or distinctly more appropriate” a forum for this case to be tried.

“I therefore order that the present proceedings be stayed unconditionally.”

“Further, as I have also found that the non-disclosures by the Plaintiff were, although relevant, were immaterial, I dismiss the Defendant’s application to set aside the warrant of arrest. I am of the view that the security should be returned to the Defendant in full and that no case management stay in the terms proposed by the Plaintiff ought to be granted,” concluded the court in its judgment.