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  • Two Cases Handled by WJNCO Selected as Top Ten Court Enforcement Cases in China

  • DATE:2020-1-20
  • Upon a comprehensive review on judicial elements including enforcement procedures, substantive adjudication, mechanism innovation, leading values, legal effects and social effects, etc, the editorial office of the People's Court Daily recently selected, from 288 cases reported by people’s courts at different levels, top ten enforcements cases for Year 2019 in China which have drawn extensive attention from the public and have significant influence with great social effect. Among the top ten cases, two were handled by WJNCO lawyers, respectively, “enforcement case before Haikou Maritime Court for auction of oil tanker at a bid of RMB403.3 million” and “enforcement case before Ningbo Maritime Court for compulsory discharge and transshipment of cargo onboard M/V Oriental Dragon with joint efforts by 23 units”
    Case 1: Compulsory Discharge and Transshipment of Cargo off M/V Oriental Dragon

    In 2016 when M/V Oriental Dragon carried 24,000 tons of garnet valuing over RMB40 million en route from Australia to Middle East, due to disputes between shipowners and charterers, she deviated from her planned passage without prior approval and sailed under duress to Yuhuan sea area of ​​Zhejiang, with the cargo on board. At application by the cargo interests, Ningbo Maritime Court arrested the vessel; and after the trial, the Court ordered shipowners to promptly deliver all cargo on board. However, shipowners consisting of many small shareholders resisted fiercely and even threatened to sink the ship and commit suicide, hindering enforcement of the court judgment for nearly three years, leaving the ship and onboard cargo in an extremely dangerous situation and threatening navigation safety and maritime environmental protection. The event exerted immense negative impacts worldwide. At the beginning of 2019, Ningbo Maritime Court decided to proceed with compulsory enforcement. As instructed by Norwegian SKULD P&I Club to act for the ship’s American charterer, Mr. Chen Xiangyong and Mr. Song Dihuang provided valuable assistance in facilitating the court enforcement. With meticulous arrangement after going through difficult negotiations with various parties concerned, Ningbo Maritime Court, with the joint efforts by 23 units including local governmental authorities, immigration authority and maritime safety administration, dispatched over 200 law-enforcement personnel, 3 sea patrol boats and 8 operating vessels to carry out the compulsory enforcement. After discharge operation around the clock for 7 days, the cargo were eventually transshipped onto M/V “Pride” as arranged by the American in sound condition for carriage towards her original port of destination in Middle East. When assisting clients to cooperate with the court to facilitate the enforcement, WJNCO lawyers always adhered to legal spirit and principles and adopted flexible and holistic approaches in seeking dispute resolution, which are highly praised by Chinese maritime courts and foreign clients. 

    Case 2: Judicial Auction of M/T “Brightoil Gem”

    Due to failure by Brightoil Gem Tanker Ltd. in repaying bank loan, BNP PARIBAS applied for pre-trial property preservation before the Haikou Maritime Court. Upon approval, the Court arrested the VLCC “Brightoil Gem” on 4 January 2019 and subsequently approved BNP PARIBAS’s application for auction sale of the tanker. 

    After the court announcement of auction sales and claim registration, 32 rounds of competitive bidding witnessed our Mr. Wang Jun’s success in assisting the client in winning the bid at a price of RMB403.3 million (approximately USD57.52 million) on the Taobao judicial auction platform. The said price has created a new record of winning bid on the Taobao judicial auction platform for ship auctions. 

    Judicial auction of foreign vessels/tankers at high value need to overcome various obstacles. WJNCO lawyers provided our clients with professional legal services in all aspects including preliminary consultation, ship survey, transaction planning, bidding strategy and ship delivery, laying a solid foundation for success in ship bidding and delivery, which have been highly recognized by worldwide clients.

    Among the ten selected cases, merely the above two are shipping cases and it is a great honour for WJNCO that both of them were handled by us. With decades of dedicated efforts in shipping practice, WJNCO have rich pragmatic experiences in handling litigation and enforcement disputes concerning shipping matters. The selected cases will be landmark to encourage us to continue adopting professional and prudent working attitudes in pursuit of premium legal services for clients.

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