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Trends and developments

Are there any notable trends or recent legal developments in your jurisdiction’s shipping industry?

Singapore’s shipping industry has been experiencing the effects of the slump in the global shipping industry. An unfortunate result of this is that some shipowners in Singapore have become insolvent and have had to engage in corporate restructuring and reorganisation. The laws of corporate insolvency and admiralty, which appear to have been developing on separate tracts and usually with scant regard for each other, must now interact regarding shipping insolvency. The Singapore courts have recently had many opportunities to consider the interaction of these two areas of law.

Registration

Eligibility

Which ships are eligible for registration in the national shipping register(s) and which parties may register ships?

As regards vessels, registration is open to all types of ship, including offshore vessels such as oil rigs and floating platforms, with the exception of fishing vessels, hydrofoils and wooden vessels. Vessels must be classified by any of the eight recognised classification societies and comply with the relevant requirements in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conventions, including:

  • the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974;
  • the International Convention on Load Lines 1966;
  • the International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships 1969; and
  • the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978.

Vessels should be less than 17 years’ old and dispensations may be considered for vessels under special operating circumstances. Equipment and arrangements approved by other maritime administrations that comply with the IMO conventions are generally accepted.

Only the following may be registered as owners of Singapore vessels:

  • citizens or permanent residents of Singapore;
  • locally-owned companies incorporated in Singapore (ie, companies incorporated in Singapore with more than 50% of their equity owned by Singaporeans or another locally owned company and a minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000); or
  • foreign-owned companies incorporated in Singapore (ie, companies incorporated in Singapore with more than 50% of their equity owned by non-Singaporeans and a minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000). For foreign-owned companies, the vessel to be registered must be at least 1,600 gross tonnes and self-propelled.

The owner of a Singapore ship must appoint a commercial manager and a technical manager. The commercial manager, who must be resident in Singapore and may be an officer of the owning company or a management company, responsible for all matters concerning ship registration and crew manning. The technical manager is responsible for matters concerning the International Safety Management Code and International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and need not necessarily be resident in Singapore.

Procedure

What are the procedural and documentary requirements for registration?

For ordinary registration, owners must write to the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) for approval of the vessel’s name, official number and call sign or signal letters. This should be done at least two weeks in advance. The owners must then submit the relevant documents for provisional or permanent registration. Thereafter, the owners must pay:

  • the initial registration fee at a rate of S$2.50 per net tonne to the nearest tonne subject to a minimum of S$1,250 (500 net tonnes) and a maximum of S$50,000 (20,000 net tonnes); and
  • the annual tonnage tax at a rate of S$0.20 per net tonne to the nearest tonne subject to a minimum of S$100 (500 net tonnes) and a maximum of S$10,000 (50,000 net tonnes).

The relevant documents required for a provisional registration are:

  • a completed application form;
  • a completed appointment of agent form (where required);
  • a completed appointment of manager form;
  • a business profile report of the company’s particulars from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority;
  • a copy of the builder’s certificate for a new vessel;
  • a bill of sale, a transcript copy from the former registry or a bill of sale from a sheriff’s court (where applicable) for vessels transferring their flag;
  • a copy of a clean transcript from the former registry;
  • a letter of undertaking from the owner that the vessel will be free of registered encumbrances;
  • proof of the vessel’s value;
  • tonnage certificates from the Marine Port Authority or classification from authority-authorised societies authorised; and
  • an interim class certificate for new vessels or class maintenance certificate for vessels transferring their flag.

The documents required for a permanent registration are:

  • evidence of ownership;
  • an original carving and marking note;
  • an original deletion certificate;
  • a copy of the full-term class certificate;
  • a copy of the full-term tonnage certificate; and
  • a copy of the following trading certificates:
    • a cargo ship safety construction certificate;
    • a cargo ship safety equipment certificate (including Form E);
    • a cargo ship safety radio certificate (including Form R);
    • a 30-mile limit passenger ship safety certificate or port limit passenger ship safety certificate;
    • a safety certificate for high speed craft;
    • a mobile offshore drilling unit safety certificate;
    • an international load line certificate or Singapore load line certificate;
    • an international oil pollution prevention certificate and supplements or Singapore oil pollution prevention certificate;
    • an international air pollution prevention certificate and supplements or Singapore air pollution prevention certificate;
    • a document of compliance;
    • a safety management certificate;
    • an international ship security certificate;
    • an international certificate of fitness for the carriage of dangerous chemicals in bulk; and
    • an international pollution prevention certificate for the carriage of noxious liquid substances in bulk.

Grounds for refusal

On what grounds may a registration application be refused?

Under Section 8(3) of the Merchant Shipping Act (Cap 179), the Registrar of Ships can refuse to register any ship without assigning a reason.

Advantages

Are there any particular advantages of flying your jurisdiction’s flag?

The SRS is a quality ship registry that ensures that ships and their owners meet the stringent criteria that entitle their ships to obtain Singapore nationality. It is highly regarded by many banks and ship financiers. Established in 1966, the SRS has almost 50 years’ experience and is managed by the Marine Port Authority. With more than 4,500 ships of approximately 85 million gross tonnes, the SRS is among the world’s top 10 registries and has one of the youngest quality fleets. The SRS is also on the ‘white list’ of two major port state control regimes – the Paris Memorandum of Understanding and the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding. Detailed information on the SRS can be found here.

Liens and mortgages

Registration

How are encumbrances such as maritime liens and mortgages registered in your jurisdiction and what are the effects of registration?

Maritime liens are non-registrable. A mortgage on a vessel may be recorded in the register once the vessel has been registered on presentation of the mortgage instrument (in the prescribed form available from the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS)). A registered mortgage over a Singapore-flagged vessel is considered a legal mortgage and enjoys a higher priority than an unregistered mortgage, which is considered an equitable mortgage. Further, priority is determined on the basis of when the mortgage is registered and not when it was created.

Securable claims and priority

What claims can be secured by maritime liens and what is the order of priority?

The recognised categories of maritime liens are, in descending order of priority:

  • damage liens;
  • salvage liens;
  • wage liens;
  • master’s disbursement liens; and
  • bottomry liens.

Extinguishment

Under what circumstances are maritime liens extinguished?

Maritime liens are extinguished when:

  • the vessel to which the maritime lien attaches is destroyed;
  • the claim giving rise to the maritime lien is discharged by payment; or
  • the vessel to which the maritime lien attaches is sold via a judicial sale free of all liens and encumbrances.

Foreign liens

Are foreign liens recognised in your jurisdiction?

Maritime liens created under foreign law are not recognised unless the underlying claim is one which Singaporean law also regards as capable of attracting a maritime lien.

Transfer and assignment

Which rules govern the transfer and assignment of liens, mortgages and other encumbrances?

Liens generally cannot be transferred or assigned. As for mortgages, the substantive law as agreed between the parties to govern the transfer and assignment of the mortgage will apply. However, where a mortgage registered in the SRS is transferred (via sale of the vessel) or transmitted (under a court order or upon liquidation), the transfer or transmission of the mortgage must be recorded with the SRS.

Arrest

Grounds for arrest

Under what circumstances can a ship be arrested in order to secure a claim against it?

The claim for which security is being sought must fall within one of the following categories:

  • any claim to the possession or ownership of a ship or the ownership of any share therein;
  • any question arising between the co-owners of a ship as to possession, employment or earnings of that ship;
  • any claim in respect of a mortgage of or charge on a ship or any share therein;
  • any claim for damage done by a ship;
  • any claim for damage received by a ship;
  • any claim for loss of life or personal injury sustained as a consequence of any defect in a ship or its apparel or equipment;
  • any claim for loss of life or personal injury sustained as a consequence of the wrongful act (being an act, neglect or defect in the navigation or management of the ship in the loading, carriage or discharge of goods on, in or from the ship or in the embarkation, carriage or disembarkation of persons on, in or from the ship) by:
    • the owners;
    • the charterers or persons in possession or control of the ship;
    • the master or crew; or
    • any other person.
  • any claim for loss of or damage to goods carried in a ship;
  • any claim arising out of an agreement relating to the carriage of goods in a ship or to the use or hire of a ship;
  • any claim relating to salvage (including any claim arising under Section 11 of the Air Navigation Act (Cap 6) relating to salvage of aircraft, apparel and cargo) subject to Section 168 of the Merchant Shipping Act (Cap 179) – which requires salvage disputes to be determined summarily by a district court in certain cases;
  • any claim in the nature of towage in respect of a ship or aircraft;
  • any claim in the nature of pilotage in respect of a ship or aircraft;
  • any claim in respect of goods or materials supplied to a ship for its operation or maintenance;
  • any claim in respect of the construction, repair or equipment of a ship, dock charges or dues;
  • any claim by a master or member of the crew of a ship for wages and by or in respect of a master or member of the crew of a ship for any money or property which, under the Merchant Shipping Act (Cap 179), is recoverable as wages or in court;
  • any claim by a master, shipper, charterer or agent in respect of disbursements made on account of a ship;
  • any claim arising out of an act which is or is claimed to be a general average act;
  • any claim arising out of bottomry; or
  • any claim for:
    • the forfeiture or condemnation of a ship or of goods which are being or have been carried, or have been attempted to be carried, in a ship; 
    • the restoration of a ship or any such goods after seizure; or
    • droits of admiralty.

In the case of a claim falling within the first three categories or last category above, the vessel in question can be arrested. In the case of a claim attracting a maritime lien, the vessel to which the maritime lien attaches can be arrested.

In all other cases, where the claim arises in connection with a ship and the person who would be liable on the claim in an action in personam was, when the cause of action arose, the owner or charterer of, or in possession or control of the ship, an action in rem may (whether or not the claim gives rise to a maritime lien on that ship) be brought in the High Court against:

  • that ship if the relevant person is either the beneficial owner thereof, has shares therein or is the charterer thereof under a charter by demise at the time when the action is brought; or
  • any other ship of which, at the time when the action is brought, the relevant person is the beneficial owner of all shares in it.

Can a ship be arrested to secure a non-maritime claim?

No.

Can a ship be arrested to secure a claim against a sister ship?

Yes. 

Procedure

What are the procedural and documentary requirements for seeking arrest of a ship?

An admiralty action in rem must be commenced by the issuance of an admiralty in rem writ.

Upon the issuance of the writ, an application for the issuance of a warrant of arrest is made to the court; the application must be supported by an affidavit stating:

  • the name of the person who would be liable on the claim in an action in personam (ie, the relevant person);
  • that the relevant person was, when the cause of action arose, the owner or charterer, or in possession or control of the ship in connection with which the claim arose;
  • that at the time the writ was issued, the relevant person was either the beneficial owner of all shares in the ship for which the warrant is required or the charterer of that ship under a charter by demise; and
  • that in the case of a claim for possession of a ship or for wages, the nationality of the ship for which the warrant is required and proof that the notice (if any) required under Paragraph 4 of the Merchant Shipping Act has been sent.

Further, the applicant is also under a strict duty to make full and frank disclosure of all relevant facts and matters regarding the claim and arrest in the supporting affidavit.

Once granted, the arrest warrant is executed by attaching to a prominent part of the vessel to be arrested. The writ is served together with the warrant of arrest.

Security

What security must the arresting party put up in order to secure arrest of a ship and how is this security calculated?

None. 

What security can the arrested party provide for release of an arrested ship?

The rules of court specifically provide for the release of an arrested vessel upon bail being given. However, in practice, other forms of generally acceptable security include:

  • payment into court;
  • a bank guarantee; or
  • a letter of undertaking issued by a protection and indemnity insurance club.

The parties can also agree to any other form of security that is mutually acceptable to them for the vessel’s release.

Judicial sale of ships

Procedure

What is the legal procedure for the judicial sale of ships in your jurisdiction?

An order for the appraisement and sale (ie, a sale order) is made by the court upon the application of a party. Upon the sale order being made, the party seeking the sale obtains a commission for the appraisement and sale of the vessel, which is executed by the sheriff. After obtaining the commission, the sheriff will have the vessel appraised by a court-appointed valuer and set a date for the auction of the vessel to be conducted. The practice in Singapore is for the auction to be conducted through sealed bids. The sheriff will enter into a contract of sale (on its terms) with the successful bidder.

Foreign sales

Under what circumstances are foreign sales recognised?

Generally, the Singapore Court will recognise and give effect to a sale that is effected pursuant to a judgment in rem pronounced by a foreign court which had jurisdiction over the vessel because the vessel was within that court’s jurisdiction.

Limitation of liability

Eligibility

What parties may limit liability for maritime claims?

Shipowners (meaning the owner, charterer, manager and operator of a seagoing ship) and salvors, may limit their liability in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976, enforced in Singapore under Section 136 of the Merchant Shipping Act (Cap 179).

For what claims can liability be limited? Are any claims explicitly exempt from the limitation of liability?

The following claims, whatever the basis of liability, are subject to the limitation of liability:

  • claims in respect of loss of life or personal injury or loss of or damage to property (including damage to harbour works, basins and waterways and aids to navigation) that take place on board or in direct connection with the operation of the ship or salvage operations and the consequential loss resulting therefrom;
  • claims in respect of loss resulting from delay in the carriage by sea of cargo, passengers or their luggage;
  • claims in respect of other loss resulting from infringement of rights other than contractual rights, which occur in direct connection with the operation of the ship or salvage operations;
  • claims in respect of the raising, removal, destruction or rendering harmless of a ship which is sunk, wrecked, stranded or abandoned, including anything that is or has been on board such ship;
  • claims in respect of the removal, destruction or rendering harmless of the ship’s cargo; and
  • claims of a person other than the person liable for measures taken in order to avert or minimise loss for which the person liable may limit his or her liability in accordance with the convention and further loss caused by such measures.

The following claims are excluded from limitation:

  • claims for salvage or contribution in general average;
  • claims for oil pollution damage within the meaning of the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1969 or any amendment or protocol thereto which is in force;
  • claims subject to any international convention or national legislation governing or prohibiting limitation of liability for nuclear damage;
  • claims against the shipowner of a nuclear ship for nuclear damage;
  • claims by servants of the shipowner or salvor whose duties are connected with the ship or the salvage operations, including claims of their heirs, dependants or other persons entitled to make such claims if:
    • under the law governing the contract of service between the shipowner or salvor and such servants the shipowner or salvor is not entitled to limit his or her liability in respect of such claims; or
    • he or she is by such law only permitted to limit liability to an amount greater than that provided for in Article 6 of the convention.

Limits

What limits are set for eligible claims?

Limit for passenger claims

In respect of claims arising on any distinct occasion for loss of life or personal injury to passengers of a ship, the shipowner’s limit of liability will be 46,666 units of account multiplied by the number of passengers which the ship is authorised to carry according to its certificate, but not exceeding 25 million units of account.

Limit for other claims The limits of liability for claims for loss of life or personal injury will be:

  • 166,667 units of account for a ship with a tonnage less than 300 tonnes; and
  • 333,000 units of account for a ship with a tonnage less than 500 tonnes.

For ships with a tonnage exceeding 500 tonnes, the liability for claims for loss of life or personal injury will be:

  • 500 units of account for each tonne from 501 to 3,000 tonnes;
  • 333 units of account for each tonne from 3,001 to 30,000 tonnes;
  • 250 units of account for each tonne from 30,001 to 70,000 tonnes; and
  • 167 units of account for each tonne less than 70,000 tonnes.

The limits of liability for any other claims will be:

  • 83,333 units of account for a ship with a tonnage less than 300 tonnes; and
  • 167,000 units of account for a ship with a tonnage less than 500 tonnes.

For a ship with a tonnage in excess of 500 tonnes, the liability for claims for loss of life or personal injury will be:

  • 167 units of account for each tonne from 501 to 30,000 tonnes;
  • 125 units of account for each tonne from 30,001 to 70,000 tonnes; and
  • 83 units of account for each tonne in excess of 70,000 tonnes.

Limitation funds

What rules and procedures govern the establishment of limitation funds?

Article 11 of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 governs the establishment of limitation funds. The procedure for a limitation action is set out in Order 70, Rules 36, 37, 38 and 39 of the Rules of Court.

How are liability funds distributed?

Article 12 of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 governs the distribution of limitation funds.

Carriage of goods

International conventions

Is your jurisdiction party to any international conventions on the carriage of goods by sea? If so, does the relevant domestic implementing law contain any notable modifications (eg, extensions to the scope of application)?

The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (Cap 33) transposes the Hague-Visby Rules.

Carrier’s responsibility

What is the official extent of the carrier’s responsibility for goods?

Article II(2) of the Hague-Visby Rules provides that the carrier must properly and carefully load, handle, stow, carry, keep, care for and discharge the goods carried. Thus, the carrier’s liability is from “ship’s rail to ship’s rail”.

Contractual limitation of liability

May parties contract out of any legal provisions governing cargo liability?

Article III(8) of the Hague-Visby Rules provides that any clause, covenant or agreement in a contract of carriage relieving the carrier or the ship from liability for loss or damage to, or in connection with, goods arising from negligence, fault or failure in the duties and obligations provided in this article or lessening such liability other than that provided for in the rules, will be null and void. An insurance benefit in favour of the carrier or a similar clause will be deemed to relieve the carrier from liability.

Title to sue

Who has title to sue on a bill of lading?

Section 2(1) of the Bills of Lading Act (Cap 384) stipulates that by virtue of becoming the holder of the bill or, as the case may be, the person to whom delivery is to be made, the following parties will have all rights of suit under the contract of carriage as if they had been a party to that contract:

  • the lawful holder of a bill of lading;
  • the person (without being an original party to the contract of carriage) to whom delivery of the goods to which a sea waybill relates is to be made by the carrier in accordance with that contract; or
  • the person to whom delivery of the goods to which a ship’s delivery order relates is to be made in accordance with the undertaking contained in the order.

However, Section 2(2) provides that where a person becomes the lawful holder of a bill of lading, possession of the bill no longer provides a right (as against the carrier) to possession of the goods to which the bill relates. As such, that person will have no rights transferred to him or her by virtue of Sub-section (1), unless he or she becomes the holder of the bill:

  • by virtue of a transaction effected in pursuance of any contractual or other arrangements made before such a right to possession ceased to attach to possession of the bill; or
  • as a result of the rejection of that person by another person of goods or documents delivered to the other person in pursuance of such arrangements.

Time bar

What is the time bar for cargo claims?

Unless otherwise extended by the parties, the time bar is one year from the date of delivery of the goods or the date on which they should have been delivered.

Definition of ‘carrier’ and ‘goods’

How are ‘carrier’ and ‘goods’ defined in respect of cargo claims? Is there any especially pertinent case law on this issue?

A ‘carrier’ includes an owner or charterer who enters into a contract of carriage with a shipper. ‘Goods’ includes goods, wares, merchandise and articles of every kind, except live animals and cargo which under the contract of carriage must be carried on deck and is so carried.

Defences available to carrier

Under what circumstances may the carrier rely on the perils of the sea defence? What other defences are available to the carrier?

‘Perils of the sea’ is one of the 17 defences listed in Article IV(2) of the Hague-Visby Rules. It refers only to fortuitous accidents or casualties at sea and does not include the ordinary action of winds and waves.

Other defences include:

  • the act of the master in the navigation or management of the ship;
  • acts of god;
  • inadequate packing; and
  • latent defects not discoverable through due diligence.

Third parties

What legal protections and defences against cargo claims are available to agents of the carrier and other third parties (eg, Himalaya clauses)?

A Singapore Court would be prepared to give effect to a properly worded Himalaya clause.

Deviation from route

Under what circumstances is deviation from the agreed route allowed?

Article IV(4) of the Hague-Visby Rules permits reasonable deviation to save or attempt to save life or property at sea.

Claims against shipper

What claims can the carrier pursue in respect of the shipper’s failure to meet its obligations?

Article IV(6) of the Hague-Visby Rules provides that a shipper will be liable for all damages and expenses directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from the shipment of goods of an inflammable, explosive or dangerous nature without the consent or knowledge of the carrier, master or agent.

Multimodal carriage of goods

How is multimodal carriage regulated in your jurisdiction?

Forwarders must usually incorporate the standard terms and conditions of a freight-forwarding body or association into their contracts.

Marine accidents

Collision and pollution

What rules and procedures (under both domestic and international law) apply to the prevention of, liability for and remedy of:

(a) Collision?

The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 are incorporated into the Merchant Shipping Act (Cap 179) by the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Collisions at Sea) Regulations (Regulation 10).

(b) Oil pollution?

The International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1992 and the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage 1992 are given effect by the Merchant Shipping (Civil Liability and Compensation for Oil Pollution) Act (Cap 180).

The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage 2001 is given effect by the Merchant Shipping (Civil Liability and Compensation for Bunker Oil Pollution) Act (Cap 179A).

(c) Other environmental damage caused by a ship?

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973, as modified and added to by the Protocol 1978, is given effect by the Prevention of the Pollution of the Sea Act (Cap 243).

Salvage

What is the legal regime governing salvage and general average?

Salvage is governed by Part IX of the Merchant Shipping Act (Cap 179) and general average is governed by the Marine Insurance Act (Cap 387) and the York-Antwerp Rules (where applicable).

Places of refuge

What framework governs access to places of refuge for ships in distress?

No such framework exists.

Wreck removal

What rules and procedures apply to the removal of wrecks in your jurisdiction?

Part IX of the Merchant Shipping Act (Cap 179) applies to wrecks outside port limits and Part IX of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Act (Cap 107A) applies to wrecks within port limits.

Under what circumstances can the authorities order removal of wreckage?

Under the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Act, the authority may appoint a receiver of wreckage that may remove and sell any ship that is sunk, stranded or abandoned within the territorial waters of Singapore, but outside the limits of any port that is or likely to become an obstruction or danger to navigation.

For wrecks within port limits that are or are likely to become an obstruction, impediment or danger to navigation or the safe and convenient use or operation of the port, the authority may, by notice in writing, require the vessel’s owner or agent to raise, remove or destroy the whole or any part of such vessel.

Insurance

Mandatory coverage

What maritime risks must be covered under the law and what is the mandatory level of coverage?

Insurance for oil pollution up to the vessel’s limit of liability under Article V of the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1992 is compulsory for any ship carrying a bulk cargo of more than 2,000 tonnes of oil.

Insurance for bunker pollution up to the vessel’s limit of liability provided in the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 is compulsory for any ship whose gross tonnage is above 1,000 metres.

Insurable risks and ships

What other risks are typically covered by marine insurance contracts concluded in your jurisdiction and what ships are insurable?

Under the Marine Insurance Act (Cap 387), every lawful marine adventure may be the subject of a marine insurance contract. ‘Marine adventures’ are defined as:

  • any goods or other movables exposed to maritime perils (insurable property);
  • the earning or acquisition of any freight or other pecuniary benefit or security endangered by the exposure of insurable property to maritime perils; and
  • any liability to a third party incurred by the owner of, or other person interested in or responsible for, insurable property due to maritime perils.

Subrogation rights

What is the legal regime governing marine insurers’ subrogation rights?

Section 79 of the Marine Insurance Act provides that where an insurer pays for a total loss, it becomes entitled to take over the interest of the assured in what remains of the subject matter paid for and is thereby subrogated to the rights and remedies of the assured in respect of that subject matter from the time of the casualty causing the loss.

Jurisdiction and dispute resolution

Competent courts

What courts are empowered to hear maritime cases in your jurisdiction?

Admiralty jurisdiction is only exercisable by the Singapore High Court.

Exclusive jurisdiction and arbitration clauses

Under what conditions will exclusive jurisdiction and arbitration clauses in shipping contracts be held as valid?

The Singapore courts generally give effect to exclusive jurisdiction clauses and arbitration clauses that have been agreed between the parties.

Maritime arbitration

What is the general state and prevalence of maritime arbitration in your jurisdiction?

There continues to be a significant growth in the number of maritime arbitrations (both institutional and ad hoc) taking place in Singapore.

Recognition and enforcement

What regimes govern the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards?

Foreign judgments are governed and recognised by:

  • the Reciprocal Enforcement of Commonwealth Judgments Act (Cap 264); and
  • the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (Cap 265).

Arbitral awards are governed and recognised by the New York Convention. 

Marine security

Legal regime

What regime governs the imposition of security measures on ships and in port facilities?

The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code has been developed to enhance the security of ships and port facilities. It was developed in response to the perceived threats to ships and port facilities after the 9/11 attacks. The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code is part of the Safety of Life At Sea Convention, which is given effect in Singapore by the Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) Regulations (Cap 179, Regulation 11). Compliance with the code is mandatory.

The Maritime and Port Authority has also developed a port security manual for the Singapore port facilities and provides updates through port marine circulars or notices on Singapore’s security level.

Security officers

What rules apply to the qualification and conduct of security officers on ships and in port facilities? Are armed guards allowed on ships?

The main rules in this context are provided in the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. The Maritime and Port Authority has endorsed maritime training providers to help guide Singapore flagged ships and Singapore port facilities in the training of maritime security personnel. These train company security officers, ship security officers and port facility security officers in accordance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and the International Maritime Organisation model. Singapore law does not prohibit the use of armed security personnel on board Singapore-registered ships, but it is not encouraged given the potential escalation of violence and increased risk of injury and fatalities.

Security information

What rules govern the provision of security information to port authorities?

Chapter X-2(9) of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 governs the provision of security information to port authorities. Further, under Section 45 of the Maritime and Port Authority Act, the port master may require a vessel in transit to provide him or her with particulars of the vessel, its cargo and equipment.