Ruling backs PNG Ports

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THE Waigani National Court has dismissed a proceeding filed by Niugini Pilots Ltd (NPL) against PNG Ports Corporation Ltd seeking specific performances of certain clauses in a mediation agreement entered into between the two parties on Sept 17, 2017.
NPL, as an entity that provides marine piloting services to shipping agents and shipowners at various ports in Papua New Guinea, sought declaratory relief concerning powers and conduct of PNG Ports in relation to the provision and control of marine piloting services in the ports of PNG.
However, Justice Derek Hartshorn yesterday dismissed the proceeding on the grounds that the relief sought in the originating summons which was seeking specific performance with provisions of mediated agreement entered into between the parties had expired or lapsed.
The court found that NPL cannot succeed in obtaining the relief and therefore was frivolous. Justice Hartshorn upheld the submission by PNG Ports which contended that proceeding should be dismissed on the grounds that the declaratory relief sought in the originating summons did not concern any purported right of NPL.
PNG Ports further submitted that the relief sought by NPL did not identify a legal right by NPL that was sought to be protected.
Thus, the declaratory relief sought will not resolve all the issues between the parties and does not have any practical utility.
“From a perusal of the wording of this declaratory relief sought, there is no claim that NPL has a right of any nature which entitles it to sue PNG Ports for this relief,” Justice Hartshorn said.
“Any right which NPL may have had by virtue of the relief sought in the originating summons is no longer able to be relied upon as the mediated agreement has expired or lapsed.”

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