The Nigerian government has finally agreed to release the Swiss-flagged San Padre Pio tanker that was seized in January 2018.
The San Padre Pio was intercepted as it was transferring diesel between ships, accused of entering Nigerian waters illegally and illegal diesel trafficking, something strongly denied by the ship’s captain.
Switzerland had initiated legal proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in its bid to get the ship freed.
The 7,616 dwt product tanker is owned by Swiss-based ABC Maritime.
The latest development comes about two years after a maritime tribunal ordered the Nigerian government to release Swiss oil tanker
The San Padre Pio oil tanker, registered with canton Vaud shipping company ABC Maritime, was seized by Nigerian authorities in January 2018.
An international tribunal had earlier ruled that Nigeria should release a Swiss-flag-carrying oil tanker and its crew, which has been blocked in the bay of Biafra for over a year.
The San Padre Pio oil tanker, registered with canton Vaud shipping company ABC Maritime, External link was seized by Nigerian authorities in January 2018, who accused the ship and its crew of violating territorial waters and diesel smuggling.
After diplomatic efforts to release the ship proven futile, the Swiss authorities lodged a complaint with the Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
In its decision, published on Saturday External link, the maritime tribunal ruled largely in favour of Switzerland, which argued that the tanker had been in international waters and its seizure constituted a violation of international law.
The tribunal noted that the San Padre Pio “has not only been detained for a considerable period of time but also that the vessel and its crew are exposed to constant danger to their security and safety”.