In August, 2019, KELLY, a Marshall Islands cargo ship carrying a load of 80,000 tons of soybean from Richelief Port, Louisiana, USA arrived at Dafeng Port and Zhenjiang Port, respectively, and the cargo was found seriously damaged after inspection. On December 25, 2019, the consignee of this batch of goods, China Grain Storage Oil Co., Ltd., applied to Nanjing Maritime Court for detaining the “KELLY”, which was anchored in Zhenjiang Port, on the grounds of serious damage to the goods, and requested the shiowner to provide a guarantee of US$4 million.
In the process of handling this case, Nanjing Maritime Court, after strictly examining the subject qualification, basic evidence and guarantee provided by the applicant, considered that the case met the requirements for maritime claim preservation, and immediately made a ruling on arrest of the ship and an arrest order, and decided to arrest the ship on the same day. On the premise of comprehensively considering many factors such as the port environment where the ship was located, the weather conditions of the day and the arrival of Christmas Day in western world, a detailed plan for ship arrest has been worked out, and a team of police officers with rich experience in ship arrest and good English skill has been organized to perform the ship arrest. In the afternoon of December 25, 2019, the executive police officers arrived in Zhenjiang, and delivered the notice of assisting in the arrest of ships to Zhenjiang Maritime Safety Administration and Zhenjiang Border Inspection Station in time. The Maritime Safety Administration and Border Inspection Station immediately assisted in handling the procedures of prohibiting the ships involved from leaving the port and boarding the ship. The executive police officers boarded the ship smoothly, issued an order to arrest the ship to the captain in accordance with the law, seized the ship certificate, and ordered the requested party to provide guarantee. After explaining the operation status and ownership of the ship to the judge, the captain signed the legal documents for arresting the ship, and agreed with the standardized law enforcement of Nanjing Maritime Court. Nine days after the arrest of the ship, the applicant applied for lifting the arrest on the grounds that the defendant had provided guarantee, and the Nanjing Maritime Court ruled and lifted the arrest according to law.
Seizure and auction of ships is a judicial function exclusively vested in maritime courts. Seizure of ships before litigation is a special form of preservation in maritime courts, which can effectively urge the defendant to fulfill his legal obligations in a timely manner and promote the rapid resolution of maritime contradictions and disputes. Since performing their duties, Nanjing Maritime Court has detained all types of ships according to law, amounted to 112, including 5 foreign ships. This is the first case accepted by Nanjing Maritime Court to apply for detaining a foreign ship, which is of great significance to broaden the way for domestic parties, standardize the work flow, protect the rights and interests of the foreign applicants and safeguard the judicial authority. First, establish the appraisal system of arresting ships before litigation. Before applying for the arrest of a ship before litigation, the judge studies and evaluates the materials, guarantees and controversial issues provided by the parties, prompting the parties to provide complete and standardized materials in time to ensure the smooth and efficient seizure of the ship. Second, standardize the format of legal instructions of arresting ships before litigation. In view of the practice and special requirements of arresting ships before litigation, Nanjing Maritime Court determined the format and content of legal instructions of arresting ships before litigation on the basis the format of civil ruling paper for property preservation before litigation distributed by the Supreme People's Court of China and with the practice of the other maritime courts in consideration. Third, establish a cooperative working mechanism with various maritime functional departments. In this case, Nanjing Maritime Court made full use of communication means such as platform network, and immediately docked with maritime affairs, border defense and other departments to handle the procedures of arresting and boarding ships, and coordinate the dispatching of berthing docks, so as to effectively improve the implementation efficiency of arresting ships and equally protect the legitimate rights and interests of the parties.
[Execution Case Number] (2019) Jiangsu 72,Property Preservation Case No.2, (2019) Jiangsu 72,Evidence Preservation Case No.1