A court has ordered a Mombasa businessman to pay a fishing company Sh10.2 million with interest for the loss of income for 19 months.
Jamal Mohammed Bandira was directed to pay Nasibu Fishing Company for keeping its vessel idle for the period, hence the loss of earnings.
Mombasa High Court Judge Njoki Mwangi on Monday noted that MV Nasibu lay idle for several months due to the warrants of arrest issued following applications by the businessman.
The company claimed the detention of the vessel in Kenya after it was seized in Kilifi resulted in the loss of Sh450,000 for every 15 days, negatively affecting business.
“I therefore award the defendant Sh400,000 per month as loss of income from May 10, 2017 until the date of this judgement, based on the charter agreements produced as evidence of the earnings the vessel made for carriage of goods,” the judge said.
The court awarded the company Sh2.4million as costs of the repair of the vessel's main engine and generator, Sh290,0000 in mooring costs and Sh7.6million in hire charges for a round trip from Mombasa port to Kismayu port in Somalia.
Mr Bandira hired the vessel to ship cargo from Somalia to Mombasa after entering into an agreement in which he was to pay a fee of $3,000 as well as $1,200 as the fuel cost.
As he was shipping the cargo, it developed mechanical problems so it docked at the port of Kilifi, where crew members were arrested and later charged with being in Kenya illegally.
They were released on February 21, 2017.
The businessman then filed the admiralty claim before Judge Mwangi, claiming he gave petty cash to the captain of the vessel to cater for legal costs, and cash bail, to secure the release of the vessel and the crew.
He also submitted that he supplied food to the captain and the crew, fuel and spare parts to maintain the vessel, expenses which he said totalled Sh722,000.
Mr Bandira’s case against the defendant was for the payment of this amount with interest at a 12 percent rate on various dates between August 23, 2016 and March 22, 2017.
It its defence, the company denied that the complainant ever paid cash bail for the crew members and that he supplied fuel, spare parts or petty cash.
Nasibu also said the vessel was not on voyage on August 23, 2016 as claimed by the businessman.
It filed a counter-claim against the businessman, arguing that the initiation of the proceedings caused the unlawful seizure of the vessel and led to huge losses and damages as money was not being generate.
The judged dismissed the businessman’s claims as he did not provide evidence - receipts - of the costs he claimed he incurred.
“I therefore dismiss the claim and allow the counter-claim by the defendant to the extent of the pleaded and proved expenses,” Ms Mwangi said.
“I award the costs of the admiralty claim to the defendant. Interest is also awarded to the defendant at court rates."