IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
ADMIRALTY ACTION NO.188 OF 2004
Before : Hon Waung J in Chambers (Open to Public)
Date of Hearing : 9 February 2006
Date of Judgment : 9 February 2006
J U D G M E N T
1. I have before me an application for Order 14 by the cargo owners, (the plaintiffs), against the 2nd and 3rd defendants who are the contractual carriers and sued under the Bills of Lading. Large number of defences have been raised in theDefence but all of them had been abandoned and, in fact, at the hearing today there is only one issue raised or attempted to be raised.
2. That issue was certainly not pleaded in the Defence that was filed, nor was it in fact raised expressly in the affidavit of FlorenceYuen. What Mr Wong attempted to do today at the hearing was to rely on a letter at p.122, where there was a suggestion that thestorage position of the three containers were second tier and therefore submitted that there is a triable issue.
3. There is no dispute that out of the four containers, the bottom tiers of the cargoes in three containers suffered sea water damage. The fact that it is sea water damage is not in dispute. The particular cartons can be seen in the colour photograph produced tothe court (p.65), and they show that there was a watermark on the cartons — external watermark up to a level of about 22 inches.
4. The fact that there was sea water damage which can be plainly demonstrated has to be explained, and the defendants had not soughtto condescend on the particulars to show how the damage which submitted could have occurred without their fault. They could haveproduced the stowage plans; the cargo reports, both in and out. They could need to condescend on particulars in order to persuadethe court that there is a triable case. This they have totally failed to do, as can be demonstrated by the defence. The defencenowhere alleged anything of that kind.
5. So, although with considerable skill, Mr Wong tried to persuade this court that there is triable issue, I am not persuaded thaton the material put before the court, that I should give leave to the defence.
6. Summary judgment therefore should be given in favour of the plaintiffs in the sum of HK$99,403.91 as prayed for in paragraph 49 ofthe affidavit together with costs on the District Court scale (costs of the action including costs of today).
Mr Horton, of Messrs Richards Butler, for the 1st to 3rd Plaintiffs
Mr Wong Chor Wan, of Messrs Christine M. Koo & Ip, for the 2nd to 3rd Defendants