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——Guangxi court efficiently handled the pre litigation preservation case of “aliken” foreign cargo ship

Case review

Guangxi Huiyu Co., Ltd. purchased a batch of soybeans from Brazil and was carried by the Bahamian ship “aliken”. On April 12, 2019, when the “aliken” arrived at Fangcheng port of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region for unloading, Huiyu company found that the quality of soybeans was seriously damaged due to the high temperature. In order to safeguard its rights and interests, Huiyu company applied to the Beihai Maritime Court for pre litigation preservation of detaining the ship “aliken”.

After accepting the application, the Beihai Maritime Court immediately started the rapid response mechanism to study the seizure scheme and risk measures. In the process of arresting the ship by the court, the British Association issued a letter of guarantee with an amount of 23.2 million yuan to avoid the arrest of the ship. The letter of guarantee clearly states that the owner and guarantor of “aliken” confirmed that the dispute involved in the case was under the jurisdiction of the North Sea maritime court and applicable to Chinese law. In April 2020, Huiyu company and the cargo insurer filed a lawsuit with the Beihai Maritime Court, asking the shipping company of “aliken” to compensate for the economic losses of 7.4815 million yuan.

On March 22, 2021, Beihai Maritime Court overcame the impact of the epidemic and held a public hearing of the case after strict legal service procedures and sufficient pre-trial preparation. The collegial panel guided the parties to provide evidence and cross examination around the focus of disputes such as the cause of damage to the goods, the final amount of loss and responsibility sharing. It also conducted key investigations on the quality of the goods, whether the ship is seaworthy and suitable for the goods, and the carrier’s responsibility for cargo management. The court trial was standardized and orderly.

Due to the different opinions and great differences between the parties, after the trial, the court actively communicated and contacted the parties through wechat, telephone and e-mail for many times, which finally led to the mediation between the parties on June 24, 2021. The shipping company agreed to compensate Huiyu company and the insurance company for the total economic losses of 4.05 million yuan at one time, and the dispute involved in the case was successfully resolved.

In August 2021, the plaintiff and the defendant sent letter of thanks to the Beihai Maritime Court, expressing their gratitude for the fair and efficient trial work of the court. Beihai Maritime Court has won high praise from Chinese and foreign parties in the process of case trial, established a good international image of maritime justice, and promoted the international influence and credibility of maritime justice.

Judge’s statement

This case is a lawsuit brought by the cargo insurer and the domestic consignee against the carrier respectively due to the heat loss of Brazilian soybeans transported by sea.

The foreign parties issued a letter of guarantee, took the initiative to confirm that the transport contract disputes and letter of guarantee disputes involved in the case were under the jurisdiction of the Beihai Maritime Court, and chose to apply Chinese law, reflecting the parties’ respect and recognition for China’s good legal business environment and the professional judicial ability of the Chinese maritime court. The successful settlement of the disputes involved in the case is significance to help China become the “preferred place” of international maritime litigation.

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