After nine months of being incarcerated, 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 year.
Heroic Idun’s ordeal began on August 8, when the tanker arrived as scheduled to take on a cargo from the CNOOC-operated Akpo offshore FPSO. As she waited, Heroic Idun was approached by the Nigerian Navy vessel Gongola.
According to ‘Maritime Executive’, a foreign maritime news platform, the crew were released on the orders of a court in Port Harcourt. The vessel owner will have to pay a nominal official fine. The crew – including Sri Lankan, Indian, Pakistani and Polish nationals – will all be headed home to their respective countries soon.
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Recall that, Heroic Idun fled into Equatorial Guinea’s waters and reported an attempted act of piracy to the IMB’s reporting center. In response, Nigeria requested Equatorial Guinean authorities to hold the ship on charges of oil theft. Guinean authorities took possession of the ship and held it until November, when they transferred it to the custody of the Nigerian Navy. Nigerian prosecutors charged members of the Heroic Idun’s crew 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.