This appeal is against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division delivered on 9th December, 2014, Coram: Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh, Yargata Byenchit Nimpar and Jamilu Yammama Tukur JJCA.
The Appellant commenced an admiralty action by writ against the Respondents at the Federal High Court claiming the sum of $1, 986,939-97 representing cargo dues, ship charges and agency fees on account of services rendered by the Appellant to the 1st Respondent. The Appellant also filed a motion ex-parte requesting an order of arrest/detention of the Vessel MT “Ocean Success” and the Cargo of 15,300 MT of premium Motor Spirit (PMS) onboard the Vessei MT “Ocean Success” both being the only known assets of the 1st Respondent within jurisdiction in the reasonable contemplation of the Appellant.
On 24th November, 2006, the Federal High Court made an order for the arrest of the Vessel MT “Ocean Success” and the Cargo of 15,300 MT of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) on board the said vessel pending the provision of a Bank Guarantee from a reputable Bank in Nigeria to secure the claim of the Appellant at the Court.
Upon service, the 1st Respondent filed an application for the release of the MT “Ocean Success” and Cargo of 15,300 MT of Premium Motor Spirit on board the vessel which were detained pursuant to the order of the Federal High Court as well as it statement of defence.
At the end of trial, the trial Court presided over by Abutu CJ delivered judgment on the 14th day of March 2011 in favour of the Appellant. The 1st Respondent who had a counter claim appealed to the Court of Appeal. The appeal succeeded in part, the Court of Appeal granted the counter claim of the 1st Respondent. Thus, dissatisfied with the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court. At the Supreme Court, the 1st Respondent filed a cross appeal. The Appellant as the cross respondent filed a preliminary objection to the competence of the cross appeal. The Appellant/cross respondent contended that is no cross appeal as no extension of time was sought by the cross-appellant and since no leave was granted, the cross appeal is incompetent and the Court lacking in jurisdiction to entertain it.