The Philippine Admiral [1977] AC 373

A company of Hong Kong brought action in rem against the ship Philippine Admiral for goods supplied for the ship. The government of Philippines applied to the court for the proceedings to set aside on the ground that the ship was his property and was entitled to sovereign immunity

Although the theory of absolute immunity was applicable to an action in personam against a foreign sovereign state on a commercial contract it was not applicable to an action in rem against a ship to which the restrictive theory should apply. Since the Philippine Admiral was being operated as an ordinary trading ship and was likely to be so used while in the ownership of the sovereign state the actions could not be set aside on grounds of sovereign immunity