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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 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. 上海海事法院及时受理该案,立案、审判、执行等部门各司其职、密切协作,通过三项措施妥善处理涉“密斯姆”轮系列纠纷案件。一是团结协作,做好船员的诉讼指导工作。由立案、审判和执行法官一同登轮实施扣押。考虑到外籍船员对中国司法制度不甚了解,且从船舶停泊的锚地往来法院也相当不便,各部门法官利用登轮扣船的契机按各自职责分工对船员们分别进行了扣船和诉讼风险的提示、立案阶段、诉讼阶段和执行阶段的指导,耐心细致地回答了船员们有关证据材料的收集、诉讼文件送达等方面的问题,引导船员依法主张权利,为相关案件的高效审理做好准备;二是统筹兼顾,做好立审执程序间的协调衔接工作。考虑到“密思姆”轮的涉诉情况,船员工资很有可能要通过船舶拍卖获得清偿。为保障船员“密思姆”轮在船舶拍卖后的及时顺利移交,立案、审判、执行等部门积极会商,并就已离船外籍船员权利主张、在船外籍船员遣返费用的垫付、外籍船员在扣押期间离船后的船舶交接等可能出现的问题提出了相应的应对方案。同时互通信息、共同协作、同步推进,并向当事人做好释明工作,有效维护各方权益,争取最佳处理效果;三是船舶拍卖,保障船员工资优先受偿。依据当事人申请,执行局依法对“密思姆”轮进行公开拍卖。受航运市场低迷的影响,近年来船舶拍卖工作难度增大,执行法官数次登轮召开现场会议、关心船员生活及船舶安全,督促拍卖公司加大宣传力度,把牢检验、评估、安全监管等各个环节,确保船检及评估报告客观反映船舶实际情况和价值,顺利推进司法拍卖程序,“密思姆”轮最终以3990万元的价格被德国一家航运公司竞得。2013年12月底,该院作出支持11名船员诉请的判决,执行局迅速着手船员工资的发放工作,从船舶拍卖价款中优先拨出人民币163万元作为11名乌克兰籍船员的劳动报酬。
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