- THE VESSEL “LEONA II”
- THE OWNER OF THE VESSEL “LEONA II”
- FIRST FUELS LIMITED
- INTERGRATED OIL AND GAS LIMITED
A Judgment was given by the Federal High Court in favour of the 1st respondent against Alpha Marine Services Limited who became the judgment debtor and from whom the vessel ‘Leona II’ was seized. The appellant herein are the vessel ‘Leona II’ and Owner of the vessel ‘Leona II’. In execution of the judgment the Federal High Court on 7th August, 1997 ordered that the vessel which had earlier been arrested, and detained be sold by the Admiralty Marshall who was the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court.
After series of Adjournment, the trial court called upon the Dmiralty Marshal who confirmed that a bank cheque of $300,000 had been received in offer for the vessel from Integrated Oil and Gas Limited(2nd Respondent) the court then ordered that the said sum being the value of the vessel should be paid to the 1st respondent. The Admiralty Marshall therefore executed a deed of transfer dated 9th December, 1998 in consideration of the sum of $300,000 paid by the 2nd respondent. A bill of sale dated 10th December, 1998 issued in like terms.
More than 6 months after the deed of transfer was executed and the bill of sale issued, the appellant applied to the trial court for an order inter alia that the buyer should show cause why:
- The bill of sale relating to the vessel M/T Leona II should not be rectified by deleting the expression “US 300,000 and further sums to be paid to us in accordance with the terms of the agreement dated 19.10.98 a copy of which was annexed to the affidavit
- Like a sheriff who has seized goods in execution, the duty of the Admiralty Marshall is to sell the vessel for a reasonable price, or not to conduct the sale as to prevent it fetching a reasonable price. Where the judgment debtor or judgment creditor conceives that there may have been a breach of that duty, the remedy, is not in seeking rectification of the bill of sale.
- If the Plaintiff’s action against a vessel is successful, it will be necessary to have the property sold by the court in order that the claim may be paid off out of the proceeds. In that case a commission for the appraisement of the property ought to be done. After the appraised value has been fixed, the court will then order that the property be sold, normally by private treaty. The property must not be sold at a price less than the appraised value unless the court on the application of the Admiralty Marshall gives leave to sell at a lower price. Surplus funds, if any, after payment of claim are paid over to the owner of the property. But where there are more than one claim against the property, the proceeds from sale are paid into a fund in court and all claims against the property are thereupon transferred to the fund. The funds will be disbursed only after the claim and their respective priorities have been adjudicated. If the proceeds from the sale are insufficient to meet the indebtedness, the owner remains still liable for the balance.