Few weeks ago, I was awarded with an opportunity to assist in effecting service of Writ in Rem on a vessel (“Vessel X”) by my Master, James P. David and my Mentor, Foo Siew Yin.
Initially, we obtained urgent instructions from our clients to arrest Vessel X. My Mentor was more than happy to let me join and assist her.
Following clients’ instructions, we prepared the cause papers to arrest Vessel X and obtained an urgent hearing before the Deputy Registrar of Admiralty Court to obtain Court’s order to arrest Vessel X.
Subsequently, we received instructions to hold off the arrest but to proceed with the service of the Writ In Rem against Vessel X. We obtained the required permit, got all the necessary documents ready, and made our way to the location.
As soon as the sun was up, we headed to pick up the Court Bailiff and went straight to Port X. Being my very first time witnessing large vessels and container ships, whereas all this while I had only drafted their names on Court documents, I was excited and mesmerized to say the least. However, I soon realized it was not an easy task as the ladder to go up to Vessel X was steep, I had made a rookie mistake carrying my sling bag and all the documents were in my hands instead of carrying a backpack.
When we boarded Vessel X with the Court Bailiff, the crew then verified our identity. The Court Bailiff proceeded to explain the situation to the crew of Vessel X. Understandably, they were confused at first, we were asked to hold our horses while they informed the Master of Vessel X. The Master was hesitant to acknowledge receipt of the Writ in Rem, therefore we had to wait for few hours. Only when his legal team gave him the go ahead, he signed and acknowledged the Writ in Rem. Thereafter, we assisted the Court Bailiff to effect service by pasting the copies of the writ on the window of the bridge of Vessel X.
Though it was a long day with a few hiccups during the process, the service of the Writ In Rem action on Vessel X was completed. I am grateful for the abundant experiences and insights I gained.