ST SHIPPING AND TRANSPORT PTE LTD AND OTHERS V SPACE SHIPPING LTD AND ANOTHER
 EWHC 156 (Comm), Queen's Bench Division, Commercial Court, Mr Justice Teare, 6 February 2018
Shipping - Charterparty hire due to either disponent owners or head owners - Stakeholder claim - Claims subject to proceedings in Connecticut and to arbitration - Whether competing claims - Effect of vacated Rule B attachment order under appeal - CPR Part 86
This was a stakeholder claim pursuant to CPR Part 86 by the time charterers along with the charterparty guarantors and the issuer of a letter of undertaking. The defendants were the disponent owners and head owners of the vessel CV Stealth . This application arose from the context of two London arbitrations and a Rule B attachment order in Connecticut. The factual situation was that CV Stealth had been detained in Venezuela for five years and that disponent owners had remained liable for hire while not being able to trade the vessel. The head owners and disponent owners had entered into a Settlement Agreement that a tranche of the time charter hire should be paid to head owners, who had given notice to time charterers of the assignment. However, disponent owners' demands against the stakeholder claimants did not reflect the agreement. The stakeholders, to avoid paying twice, had paid into an account with their solicitors and issued these proceedings. The assignment issue had been resolved so that there was no longer any claim in that respect. The Rule B attachment order by head owners against disponent owners had been issued by the Connecticut court but then vacated and the relevant Court of Appeal had refused to grant a stay of the decision. In those circumstances, could time charterers or head owners resist payment to disponent owners? Time charterers feared having to pay twice, and head owners asserted that service of the Rule B attachment order had given them a proprietary claim on the debt owned.
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