Swiss authorities are considering legal proceedings against the Nigerian Government for keeping a Swiss-flag-carrying oil tanker for over a year.
This comes after diplomatic efforts were made – This move is coming after the Swiss authorities had made several diplomatic efforts to release the ship and its remaining crew members, but all to no avail.
12 crew members have been released – Out of a total number of sixteen Ukrainian crew members, 12 were allowed to leave the ship a month and a half after the initial incident. The remaining four crew members have reportedly been stranded on the ship in “difficult conditions”.
The tanker was being investigated by the EFCC – The tanker and its crew were being investigated by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
It was handed over to the EFCC by the Nigerian Navy – The vessel was handed over to the EFCC by the Nigerian Navy’s Forward Operations Base in Bonny, Rivers State.
The case is set to come before the International Tribunal – The case is set to come before the UN-affiliated International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The Foreign Ministry said,
“Switzerland should make full use of all means to safeguard its interests. The country considers that the seizure of the vessel constitutes a violation of international law.”
Why the tanker was seized
The San Padre Pio oil tanker, registered with canton Vaud shipping company ABC Maritime, and its crew members were detained by Nigerian authorities in January 2018, for alleged diesel smuggling, and violation of its territorial waters.
Switzerland still maintains its innocence – Swiss authorities still maintain that all the allegations laid on them are false, and there was no illegal entry or fuel trade as the tanker and its crew members were working in accordance with contract between the tanker operator and Nigeria.