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M. V BREUGHEL & ORS v. MONDIVEST LIMITED

(2018) LPELR-44728(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Monday, the 25th day of June, 2018

CA/L/394/2016


Before Their Lordships

MOHAMMED LAWAL GARBA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JOSEPH SHAGBAOR IKYEGH Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

YARGATA BYENCHIT NIMPAR Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

1. M. V BREUGHEL
(''Sister vessel to the M.V. Congo River'')
2. THE MASTER OF THE ''M.V. BREUGHEL''
3. DREDGING ENVIRONMENT AND MARINE ENGINEERING NV. - Appellant(s)

AND

MONDIVEST LTD - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Admiralty Law.
FACTS:
This appeal is against the Ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos and delivered on the 21st March, 2016.

The respondent instituted an action in rem against the appellants for acts of negligence and sought the following reliefs:


i. The sum of N700,000,000 (Seven Hundred Million Naira) for alleged damage to the Appellant's property and economic losses resulting from the loss of its rental income on its property resulting from the alleged negligent acts of the M.V. Breughel and its sister vessel the Congo River;


ii. The sum of N3,000,000,000 (Three Billion Naira) being general damages for the alteration to Kuramo waters coastline, long term devaluation of the Claimant's property and long term exposure of the Claimant's property and foundations of property to ocean swells and sedimentary erosions;

iii. Interest on the above mentioned sums;


iv. A formal undertaking from the Defendants to restore the Kuramo waters to its original condition followed by a time frame/modalities of implementation for the restoration of Kuramo waters to its former longitude and latitude;


v. Costs of the action.


The Appellants in their statement of defence pleaded some points of law and applied to have the Court set them down for determination before commencement of trial. The application was opposed by the Respondent and upon due consideration, the trial Court dismissed the application and held that the Respondent had a locus standi to file the claim.

Aggrieved by the said decision, the Appellants filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court of Appeal determined the appeal based on the following issues for determination:
1. Whether the trial Court was right when it held that the Respondent has the locus standi to claim damages in the sum of N3,000,000,000 (Three Billion Naira) for the alleged alteration of the Kuramo Waters coastline an undertaking from the Appellants to restore the same?
2. Whether the learned trial Court was right when he held that the lower Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine the Respondent's suit notwithstanding that the Appellants were agents of a disclosed principal and that the Respondent has disclosed no cause of action against the Appellants?

DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Court of Appeal held that the appeal was unmeritorious and it was dismissed. The Ruling of the trial Court delivered on the 21st March, 2016 was affirmed.


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