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No. 8 of the Second Group of Model Cases involving the Protection of People's Livelihood Issued by the Supreme People's Court (case of dispute over labor contract involving “Misimu” Ship)
  • Type of Dispute: Civil-->Maritime
  • Legal document: Judgment
  • Judgment date: 12-18-2013
  • Procedural status: Trial at First Instance
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No. 8 of the Second Group of Model Cases involving the Protection of People's Livelihood Issued by the Supreme People's Court (case of dispute over labor contract involving “Misimu” Ship)
(case of dispute over labor contract involving “Misimu” Ship)
[Key Terms]
maritime lien ; crew wages, priority payment
[Disputed Issues]
Where a foreign cargo ship crashes into another ship within the maritime territory of the People's Republic of China and causes serious damage to such another ship, and it does not pay the crew wages for a long time during the maintenance period, may the crew wages be paid in priority after the ship is auctioned?
[Case Summary]
Under Article 22 of the Maritime Law payment claims for wages other remuneration crew repatriation and social insurance costs made by the Master...
No.8 of Second Group of Model Cases regarding Guaranteeing People's Livelihood Issued by the Supreme People's Court: A Series of Cases regarding Disputes over Service Contracts of Crew of the “Maxima” Vessel 最高人民法院公布保障民生第二批典型案例之八:涉“密思姆”轮船员劳务合同纠纷系列案
1. Basic Facts卡在了奇怪的地方 基本案情
The “Maxima” vessel was a bulker owned by Maxima Shipping B.V. and its place of registry was Willemstad port, Antilles, Netherlands. In June 2012, in the voyage in China's coastal waters, this vessel accidentally had a collusion with another vessel and caused serious damages to such vessel. At the same time, an oil spill accident happened due to the collusion, which caused pollution of surrounding waters. After the accident, the “Maxima” vessel was sent to the Chongming Port for repair. Since then, 11 Ukrainian crew on board have not been paid wages. Afterward, six crew returned home at their own expenses and the other five crew still stayed on board and guarded the vessel. In July 2013, due to long-term arrears of wages by the vessel owner, five crew on board of the “Maxima” vessel filed a petition for maritime claim preservation with the Shanghai Maritime Court and filed a lawsuit regarding service contract disputes against Maxima Shipping B.V., the vessel owner. “密思姆”轮是密思姆航运公司所有的散货轮, 注 册地在荷属安德列斯威廉斯塔德港。2012年6月,该轮在我国沿海海域航行途中不慎与他轮发生碰撞,事故造成他轮严重受损,同时因碰撞发生溢油事故,对附近海域造成污染。事故发生后,“密思姆”轮被送往崇明码头维修。自此,11名在船的乌克兰籍船员工资一直未予发放,之后6名船员自掏腰包先行回国,其余5名船员仍滞留在船,负责看守船舶。2013年7月,“密思姆”轮在船的5名乌克兰船员因船东长期拖欠其工资向上海海事法院提出扣押船舶的海事请求保全申请,并就船员劳务合同纠纷对船东密思姆航运公司提起诉讼。
The Shanghai Maritime Court accepted this case in a timely manner. The departments of case-filing, trial, and execution performed their own functions, closely cooperated with each other, and properly handled a series of cases involving the “Maxima” vessel through the following three measures: First, such departments united and collaborated with each other in effectively conducting litigation guidance on crew. Judges of case-filing, trial, and execution boarded together to detain the vessel. Considering that foreign crew barely knew China's judicial system and the transport between the anchorage of the vessel and the court was inconvenient, by taking the opportunity of attending on board and detaining the vessel, judges of all departments reminded the crew of risks in vessel detainment and litigation, and guided them on the stages of case-filing, litigation, and execution according to their respective duties, patiently and carefully answered questions of crew concerning the collection of relevant evidence materials and the service of litigation documents, and guided crew to claim their rights according to law and be well-prepared for the efficient trial of relevant cases. Second, such departments made overall plans, took all factors into consideration, and effectively conducted coordination and connection of procedures for case-filing, trial, and execution. Considering the lawsuit involved of the “Maxima” vessel, the crew's wages were more likely to be repaid through vessel auction. In order to guarantee the timely and smooth handover of the crew and the “Maxima” vessel after the auction, the departments of case-filing, trial, and execution actively held a conference for consultation and raised corresponding response schemes for problems that may arise in the claim for rights of foreign crew that have left the vessel, the advance payment of repatriation expenses of foreign crew on board, and the vessel handover after foreign crew left the vessel during the detainment period. At the same time, such departments exchanged information and cooperated with each other, synchronously promoted the work, gave good explanations to the parties concerned, effectively safeguarded the rights and interests of all parties concerned, and strived for the optimal handling effects. Third, such departments organized the vessel auction and guaranteed the preferential payment of crew's wages. Upon application of the parties concerned, the executive board conducted a public auction for the “Maxima” vessel according to law. Due to shutdown in the shipping market, vessel auctions in recent years were increasingly becoming difficult. Execution judges hold on-site meetings on board for multiple times. They were concerned about the living of crew and the safety of the vessel and urged the auction company to make greater efforts to publicity, firmly grasp various links of inspection, assessment, and safety supervision, ensure that the vessel inspection and assessment report objectively reflected the actual information and value of the vessel, and smoothly promote the judicial auction procedures. Finally, the “Maxima” vessel was won by a Germany shipping company at the price of 39.9 million yuan. At the end of December 2013, the court rendered a judgment that supported the claims of the 11 crew. The executive board promptly undertook the payment of such crew's wages and preferentially allocated 1.63 million yuan from the vessel auction proceeds as the labor remunerations of these 11 Ukrainian crew.

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