By DAPO OLAWUNI
A frontline maritime lawyer, Barr Emeka Akabogu, Principal Partner of Akabogu& Associates has said that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) acted within its mandates when it directed that vessels that have overstayed in Lagos port without discharge could be diverted to eastern ports.
Reacting to enquiries by DAILY TREND NEWS, Akabogu gave the legal perspective to the controversial directive by NPA which has since divided maritime stakeholders.
While airing his view to our correspondent, the top shot maritime lawyer said “In view of the continuing logistical challenges associated with the Apapa ports and associated macro-economic impact, I think NPA has acted within its mandate in redirecting vessels to ports which will conduce to more efficient management”
“Section 7(c) of the NPA Act empowers the Authority to “ensure the efficient management of port operations and optimal allocation and use of resources” which in this case will include port locations”
Akabogu however acknowledged that despite the fact NPA acted within its mandate, there would be legal consequences.
He said that such consequences would borders on the fact that importers who have specifically requested Apapa port as their final destination would want to seek redress.
“Of course there will be consequential legal incidents which will arise particularly between carriers and consignees who have entered into contracts specifying Apapa as the port of delivery in the Bills of lading or ports of discharge in charter parties”
“At this point cargo interests should be very deliberate in exchanges with carriers and vice-versa so as not to have the deviation fundamentally alter key aspects of their contracts” he said