The Court Enforced Maritime Injunction to Procure Offsite Redelivery of a Ship
Recently, Haikou Maritime Court enforced a maritime injunction far in Taizhou, Zhejiang province with the assistance of the local courts and public security organs, procuring the redelivery of a ship efficiently.
In November of 2018, the claimant Xu and the defendant Shi concluded a charter party, whereby the claimant agreed to charter a fishing boat by demise to the defendant and the defendant agreed to pay hires and conduct annual survey for the ship. After signing the contract, the claimant delivered the ship to the defendant. However, since March 2019 the defendant did not pay hires or conduct annual survey for the ship, and he even pulled the ship to his hometown in Taizhou. Since the annual survey deadline was drawing near and if the ship did not take annual survey as required, the fishery authority would impose fine on the owner, the claimant called the defendant to take the annual survey for several times but failed. The claimant therefore filed a lawsuit before Yangpu tribunal of Haikou Maritime Court. On July 29, the claimant applied for a maritime injunction, requesting the court to order the defendant to redeliver the ship.
Yangpu tribunal prepared instruments immediately upon the receipt of the application, and sent personnel to Taizhou in the afternoon of the next day. After arriving at the waters where the fishing boat in question took berth, the case handlers did not rush to the ship but enquired about the local situations and the local village mores in secret. They learnt that the local people were quite tough and there had been several group protests in recent years where the local maritime courts were dogged by villagers in enforcement cases. With these messages in mind, the case handlers analyzed and made a concrete enforcement plan as well as a contingency plan.
At 1500hrs of July 31, with the help of Taizhou tribunal of Ningbo Maritime Court and the local police station, the case handlers approached the waters where the ship berthed and boarded the ship. The job was carried out separately: the judge was responsible to explain the provisions of law face to face with the defendant in the cockpit; the clerk conciliated the crew outside of the cockpit; and the court police officer was guarding the ship with the local police officers against any attempted approach.
During the explanation of law, the judge carefully adjusted conversation following the psychological changes of the defendant. The concerns of the defendant were eventually eased by the explanation and moral education of the judge, and he agreed to return the ship.
At about 1700hrs of the day, upon the notice of the court, the claimant sent crew to take over the ship and checked off the onboard tackles with the defendant. At 2000hrs, the defendant leaved the ship and the claimant resumed possession of the ship. The offsite enforcement of maritime injunction was completed with success within 5 hours.