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Hanjin plan to unload ships in S'pore - local court stay order needed to avoid arrests

Hanjin plan to unload ships in S'pore - local court stay order needed to avoid arrests
While plans have been announced to unload some of Hanjin Shipping's stranded containerships in Singapore it still needs to obtain a moratorium on legal action in the country’s courts to avoid vessel arrests.

With 61 containerships stranded around the world, many floating outside the 12nm territorial limits of countries or slow steaming, plans have been announced to dock vessels in the ports of Singapore, Hamburg and Busan.

While in Busan Hanjin would be covered by the recognition of court receivership in its homebase of Korea the same does not yet apply to Singapore or Hamburg. “There is no automatic moratorium on legal proceedings against Hanjin in Singapore notwithstanding the South Korean courts’ grant of the receivership order,” Felicia Tan, a director at Incisive Law, told Seatrade Maritime News.

“That said, if and when Hanjin obtains from the Singapore court a moratorium on legal action against Hanjin in Singapore, after persuading the court in favour of recognition of the South Korean court order, then from the date of the court order of a moratorium Hanjin should then be able to berth and offload its ships.”

If the moratorium is granted by the Singapore courts it would also put a stay on proceedings against the Hanjin Rome, which was arrested in Singapore on 30 August, the day before Hanjin Shipping filed for receivership in the Seoul courts.

Hanjin is seeking stay orders in 43 countries to protect its vessels from arrest. Last week the Hanjin Montevideo was also arrested in California.

Incisive Law is the Singapore law alliance of international shipping lawyers Ince & Co.