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  • M.V. “Caroline Maersk” v. Nokoy Invest. Ltd
  • 113
  • 2002-07-29
  • ₦ 200
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M.V. “Caroline Maersk” v. Nokoy Invest. Ltd

1.      THE M. V. “CAROLINE MAERSK”

SISTER VESSEL TO MV CHRISTIAN MAERSK

2.      THE OWNERS OF THE MV “CHRISTIAN MAERSK”

3.      MAERSK (NIGERIA) LIMITED

V

NOKOY INVESTMENT LIMITED

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI, JSC ( Presided )

MICHAEL EKUNDAYO OGUNDARE, JSC

SYLVESTER UMARU ONU, JSC

UMARU ATU KALGO, JSC

EMMANUEL OLAYINKA AYOOLA, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

SC. 250/2000

FRIDAY, 7TH JUNE 2002

AGENCY -Agent - Agent in contract of carriage of goods by sea - Special liability of - section 16(3) of Admiralty Jurisdiction Act

AGENCY - Agent - Vicarious liability of for default of his principal Consideration of

APPEAL - Misdirection - Whether every misdirection is fatal to a decision

CONTRACT - Contractual liability under common law

CONTRACT - Contractual liability under French law

COURT - Claims made ‘further or in the alternative’ - Approach of court thereto - Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 1976

COURT - Clear and unambiguous statute - Attitude of court thereto COURT - Relief sought by a party - Alternative relief - Trial court considering same while granting principal relief - Advantage of

CURRENCY - Gold value - Meaning of

CURRENCY - Naira - Gold value of  - How determined

CURRENCY - Naira - Parity of - Decimal Currency Act (Cap. 92) section 1(2)

SHIPPING LAW - Agent - Agent in contract of carriage of goods by sea Special liability of - section 16(3) of Admiralty Jurisdiction Act

SHIPPING LAW - Agent- Liability of in terms of section 16(3) of Admiralty Jurisdiction Act - Essential part of cause of action for

SHIPPING LAW - Arrival of a ship - Date of arrival of - Date of discharge of cargo - Difference between

SHIPPING LAW - Award - Award of invoice value - When permissible -

Duty on plaintiff claiming

SHIPPING LAW - Carrier - Burden of proof thereon - What determines

SHIPPING LAW - Carrier - Liability of - Limit thereof

SHIPPING LAW - Carrier - Liability of - Limitation thereof fixed at N200 per package - Effect of Article IX of Hague Rules thereon

SHIPPING LAW - Carrier - Limit of liability of - Applicable rules for calculation of

SHIPPING LAW - Carrier - Where liable for loss or damage to goods Relevant evidence to the defence of

SHIPPING LAW - Failure of defendant to deliver the quality or quantity of cargoes it ought to deliver

SHIPPING LAW - Goods received in good order by carrier - Liability for loss or damage thereto

SHIPPING LAW - Negligence - Plea of - Whether necessary when the plaintiff has proved the defendant’s failure to deliver the quality or quantity of cargoes it ought to deliver

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Claims made ‘further or in the alternative’ - Approach of court thereto - Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 1976

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Relief sought by a party - Alternative relief - Purport of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Relief sought by a party - Alternative relief - Trial court considering same while granting principal relief

-  Advantage of

STATUTE - Decimal Currency Act (Cap. 92) section 1(2) - Parity of naira thereunder

STATUTE - Section 16(3) of Admiralty jurisdiction Act - Agent thereunderSpecial liability of

STATUTE - Clear and unambiguous statute - Attitude of court thereto

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Gold value’ - Meaning of

Issues:

1.            Whether the liability of the 2nd defendant was strict.

2.            Whether the trial court misconceived the evidence led in support of the defendant’s case.

3.            Whether the 3rd defendant being an agent of the 1st and 2nd defendants should have been held liable as there was neither evidence nor finding that the damage occurred in Nigeria.

Facts:

The plaintiff herein, a registered company carrying on business of exporting of sea foods, entered into an agreement with the Maersk Nig. Ltd., the 3rd defendant to ship 1,202 cartons of frozen Atlantic gold shrimps valued at US$71,516.50 in a vessel called Christian Maersk, owned by the 2 nd defendant from Lagos Port to Algeciras Port in Spain. The shrimps were of good consumable quality when shipped from Lagos. The goods were carried under a bill of lading issued in Lagos. On 4th March and 14th April 1994, the Spanish Health Authority issued two reports stating that the shrimps were not suitable for first inspection due to abnormal odour, unsatisfactory appearance etc.

Dispute arose as to when the shrimps deteriorated. The plaintiff claimed that it was during  the period of carriage by sea, while the defendants asserted that the shrimps deteriorated after their arrival in Spain. At the conclusion of trial, the trial Federal High Court found for the plaintiff and dismissed the defendants’ counter-claim. On appeal to the Court of Appeal, the defendants’ appeal was dismissed.

Dissatisfied the defendant further appealed to the Supreme Court.