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BRIGHT SHIPPING LTD V CHANGHONG GROUP (HK) LTD (THE "CRYSTAL" AND THE "SANCHI")

Lloyd's Law Reporter

BRIGHT SHIPPING LTD V CHANGHONG GROUP (HK) LTD (THE "CRYSTAL" AND THE "SANCHI")

[2018] HKCFI 2474, High Court of the HKSAR Court of First Instance, Hon Anthony Chan J, 15 November 2018

Admiralty - Jurisdiction - Liability for collision on the high seas - Forum non conveniens - Lis alibi pendens - Clearly and distinctly more appropriate forum - Spiliada test - Limitation of liability

This was the defendant's application for a stay of proceedings on the grounds of forum non conveniens in an in personam action for collision liability and quantum. The collision took place on the high seas, but within the EEZ of the People's Republic of China. Both the Hong Kong and the Shanghai action had been initiated on 9 January 2018, three days after the collision. The Shanghai Maritime Court had accepted jurisdiction under the applicable law of the PRC, which differed from UNCLOS. The Shanghai proceedings had not yet been served on the claimant. The limits of liability were significantly higher in Hong Kong than in mainland China. It was accepted by the plaintiff that there was no natural forum for a collision in international waters, but argued that the Spiliada test should be applied in its favour.

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