The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, HEROIC IDUN was ordered to load a cargo of oil in early August from the Akpo terminal in Nigeria. Whilst waiting for the necessary clearance papers after having tendered notice of readiness in line with voyage orders received from charterers, the Nigerian navy approached the vessel under cover of darkness in a way that caused serious concerns and it was believed to be an attempted piracy attack. The vessel following Best Management Practice escaped from the area and out into international waters.
A few days later, at the request of the Nigerian navy, the vessel was interdicted in international waters by a navy vessel from Equatorial Guinea and at gunpoint escorted to Malabo where it has been held back since 13 August, allegedly for not displaying the Equatorial Guinean flag. A fine was paid at the end of September against a promise of release of the vessel and its crew. However, both the ship and crew remain in captivity.
OSM as Ship Manager for the vessel has now been informed that a decision has been made by the authorities of Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria to move the vessel back to Nigeria for further investigations.
OSM Group CEO, Finn Amund Norbye said:
“The vessel and its 26 multinational crew members have now been detained in Equatorial Guinea for more than 80 days. The seafarers have been treated as criminals, without any formal charges or legal process for close to 3 months, it is nothing short of a shocking maritime injustice.”
“OSM together with the Ship Owner, Insurers, Legal advisors, Flag State, Embassies, ITF, and other industry players has worked continuously to bring this to a conclusion. We believe that with this development to move the vessel under neighboring state jurisdiction, the chance of any swift resolution is further diminished.
“We must now see urgent action to resolve this situation! For the sake of our 26 seafarers, OSM and its stakeholders will continue to work tirelessly with all parties able to assist us with this concerning situation.”
For any questions, please contact Navigate Response +44 (0)207 283 9915
On behalf of OSM
Finn Amund Norbye
Group CEO, OSM Maritime