After nine months of incarceration, Nigeria has finally released the crew of the VLCC Heroic Idun, who were accused of attempting to lift oil from an offshore platform and held without bail since last August.
The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker and its crew were arrested by Equatorial Guinea forces over alleged crude oil theft, and then returned to Nigeria for further investigations.
The 2020-built 300,000 dwt vessel was supposed to load a cargo of crude oil in Nigeria’s Akpo terminal on August 8 last year but was delayed, and later that day approached by a ship that did not have its automatic identification systems (AIS) switched on, claiming to be Nigerian Navy.
After several attempts to identify the vessel failed, the VLCC escaped from the area and out into international waters under suspicion of an attempted piracy attack. A few days later, at the request of the Nigerian navy, the vessel was interdicted by a navy vessel from Equatorial Guinea.
The vessel had a total crew of 26 persons. 15 crewmembers were taken ashore and had been held in detention at Malabo for many months while the remaining crewmembers were left on the ship.
Finally, after much campaigning, the ship’s owner has been ordered to pay a nominal fine, and all crew have been sent back to their homes across the world.