“Life Cycle of a Ship: Navigating the Perils” - Asian Maritime Law & Arbitration Conference 10 – 11 April 2014, Supreme Court Auditorium, Singapore.
The Maritime Law Association of Singapore (MLAS), jointly with the Singapore Chamber of Maritime
Arbitration (SCMA), presents the first ever Asian Maritime Law and Arbitration Conference from 10 to 11
April 2014 in Singapore, in conjunction with the Singapore Maritime Week 2014.
Full details of the conference can be found on the event website - www.amlac-sg.com - but a brief synopsis is set out below.
The conference will open with a scene from 2007 as Aspiring Shipowner Pte. Ltd. (“Aspiring Shipowner“) seeks to expand its fleet with the addition of the M/T “EXCITING FUTURE” (“the Vessel”), a VLCC to be built at a Chinese yard. Owing to a tightly packed order book, the Vessel is scheduled to be delivered only in 2013. In anticipation, Aspiring Shipowner enters into a long-term time charterparty with delivery dates to coincide with the Vessel’s completion. The charterparty provides for SCMA arbitration but the agreed clause is flawed. The Vessel’s price is financed by a loan secured through a mortgage and assignments of the Vessel’s future income. Aspiring Shipowner also has the comfort of a refund guarantee issued by the Singapore branch of the shipbuilder’s bank.
Fast-forward six years to 2013 and the depression in the shipping market has caused the shipyard, with Aspiring Shipowner’s consent, to postpone delivery until January 2014. Aspiring Shipowner nominates another vessel in its fleet, the M/T “ULTIMATE DREAM” as a substitute vessel to perform the time charterparty. The substitute vessel is accepted by the charterer Big Oil Ltd (“Big Oil”) but is subsequently rejected when Big Oil attempts to deliver the vessel to its own sub-charterer, Best Shipping Ltd, under a sub-charterparty which had been entered into on similar terms. Left with little alternative, Big Oil trades the M/T “ULTIMATE DREAM”. During this period, the M/T “ULTIMATE DREAM” is involved in a collision whilst manoeuvring at anchorage just outside Singapore waters.
Meanwhile, Aspiring Shipowner gets wind of rumours that the shipyard is on the verge of collapse. Non-committal statements from the shipyard and reports from Aspiring Shipowner’s superintendents lead to Aspiring Shipowner’s confrontation with the shipyard and subsequent termination of the shipbuilding agreement and eventual call on the refund guarantee. Proceedings are commenced. The Vessel is eventually completed in December 2014 and, pursuant to a settlement agreement, delivered to Aspiring Shipowner.
Taking another leap into the future, we move into the end of the Vessel’s trading life. Aspiring Shipowner plans to extend the useful lifespan of the Vessel by converting it into an FPSO. The conversion works are contracted to another shipyard by Aspiring Shipowner’s managers. The cost of the conversion works are financed by another bank loan to Aspiring Shipowner.
A series of disputes breaks out during the course of the conversion works. Allegations are exchanged between Aspiring Shipowner (through their managers) and the shipyard regarding the interpretation of the design specifications. Concurrently, Aspiring Shipowner discovers that the design specifications originally contracted for are insufficient to handle the envisaged product. The consulting engineers who advised on the design specifications deny responsibility.