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Greek firm told to pay for Chinese salvage work

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2016-07-08 07:38

China's top court ordered a Greek company to pay a Chinese transport authority 6.59 million yuan ($985,000) on Thursday for breaching a salvage agreement, overturning the original ruling.

Archangelos Investment E.N.E, the Greek corporation, had agreed that the Nanhai Rescue Bureau of the Ministry of Transport would salvage its ship, which was grounded in Qiongzhou Strait in 2011, according to the Supreme People's Court.

But the corporation later refused to pay, claiming that the authority's salvage effort failed, the court said.

The authority appealed to the Guangdong High People's Court, arguing that it should be paid whether the salvage effort was successful or not.

After losing the lawsuit in Guangdong, the authority applied to the top court for retrial at the end of 2015.

He Rong, the judge hearing the case at the top court, overturned the original verdict after a six-hour hearing on Thursday.

Si Yuzhuo, a marine law professor at Dalian Maritime University in Liaoning province, said that payment was based on whether the authority provided services for the company, not on a successful salvage effort.

"This will help grassroots courts to solve similar disputes," Si said.

Zhang Wenguang, an associate researcher specializing in international law at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the final verdict is in line with international norms.

"Litigants at home and abroad will understand more about Chinese courts' principles in hearing maritime cases, as in recent years a rising number of foreign litigants have preferred Chinese courts," Zhang said.

Ten Chinese maritime courts handled more than 30,800 cases by the end of last year, a 43 percent increase year-on-year.

Zhou Qiang, the top judge, asked courts at the end of last year to study international conventions covering marine disputes and to improve the quality of related case hearings.


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