Oil tanker with Indian crew handed over to Nigerian navy for investigation
It is learnt that Nigerian officials had stated that Heroic Idun would be brought back to Nigeria in order to clear any misconceptions about its involvement in the crude oil theft.
Published: 11th November 2022 02:34 AM | Last Updated: 11th November 2022 02:34 AM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: Equatorial Guinea has handed over Norwegian oil tanker MT Heroic Idun, with its 16 Indian crew, to the Nigerian navy for investigation into an alleged attempt to steal crude oil at the Akpo oilfield off Bonny in Nigeria.
While Indian High Commission in Nigeria has requested the Nigerian foreign affairs ministry to carry out the investigation by dispatching a team to either Equatorial Guinea or to India (in case the Indian nationals are released by then), it is learnt that Nigerian officials had stated that Heroic Idun would be brought back to Nigeria in order to clear any misconceptions about its involvement in the crude oil theft.
Indian High Commission, in its letter, sought an early release of the vessel and the crew from Equatorial Guinea itself as the Nigerian navy had indicated that the vessel was not engaging in any illegal bunkering at Bonny terminal and has paid the monetary penalty imposed by Equatorial Guinea.
Both Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea are signatories to the Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy, Armed Robbery against Ships and Illicit Maritime Activity in West and Central Africa, 2013, commonly referred to as the “Yaounde Code of Conduct”.
After detaining the vessel and investigating the circumstances of its entry into the country, Equatorial Guinea imposed a sizable fine on her for sailing through the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), without displaying the Equatorial Guinean flag. The fine was paid.
The three sailors -- Xavier Prispan of Thoothukudi, Rajan Deepan Babu of Chennai and Ramapuram Sukumar Harsha -- are among the 16 Indian sailors detained by Equatorial Guinea navy on August 13. Two of the Tamil crew were to be relieved and join their families in September. The fear among the sailors is that they will be cut off from the world and don’t know when they would be freed.