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Crew of VLCC Detained in Nigeria Released After 9 Months, one Pinoy seaman among them

Crew of VLCC Detained in Nigeria Released After 9 Months
May 01, 2023

After being detained for almost nine months in Nigeria on charges of attempting to lift oil from an offshore platform, the crew of the VLCC HEROIC IDUN has finally been released.

The series of unfortunate events started on August 8th when the 300,000 dwt tanker arrived at the CNOOC-operated Akpo offshore FPSO. While waiting, the Nigerian Navy vessel Gongola approached the HEROIC IDUN. Mistaking the Gongola for a pirate vessel, the master of the vessel sent the crew to the citadel and heeded the advice of the war risk insurers and managers, sending the ship 250 miles offshore and reporting the event to the IMB.

However, Nigerian authorities perceived the HEROIC IDUN as fleeing from lawful authorities and requested the Guinean authorities to hold the vessel on charges of oil theft. The Guinean authorities held the vessel until November when it was transferred to Nigerian authorities. Nigerian prosecutors charged the crew of 26 with conspiracy to commit a maritime offense, false pretense to be victims of a maritime offense, and attempting to deal with crude oil within the Nigeria Exclusive Economic Zone without lawful authority.

On April 28th, a court in Port Harcourt ordered the tanker's crew, consisting of 8 Sri Lankans, 16 Indians, a Filipino, and the chief engineer, who is a Polish national, to be released. The owner was ordered to pay a fine of $11,000. As part of the deal, the ship accepted a maritime offense, and a further payment in the millions of dollars was also included in the deal.