Switzerland considering legal actions over seized oil vessel in Bonny Island

Swiss authorities are considering legal proceedings against the Nigerian Government for detaining a Swiss-flag-carrying oil tanker for over a year.

The move comes after the Swiss authorities made several unsuccessful diplomatic efforts to release the ship and its remaining crew members.

Theportcitynews gathered that 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.

However, the remaining four crew members have reportedly been stranded on the ship in “difficult conditions”.

The tanker and its crew were being investigated by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The vessel was handed over to the EFCC by the Nigerian Navy’s Forward Operations Base in Bonny Island, Rivers State.

The case is set to come before the UN-affiliated International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The Foreign Ministry said,

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.

But the 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.

When contacted, the EFCC Zonal Office in Port Harcourt declined commenting on the matter.