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Oil theft: Navy returns seized vessel to owner after plea bargain

Oil theft: Navy returns seized vessel to owner after plea bargain
May 28
21:43 2023

The Nigerian navy has released and handed over motor tanker (MT) heroic idun, a large crude carrier, to Idun Maritime Limited, its owners.  

Speaking at the handing over, Mohammed Adamu, commanding officer, the forward operating base, Bonny, said the release came after the fulfilment of the conditions of the plea bargain entered between the vessel owners and the Nigerian government.

On August 7, Equatorial Guinea forces arrested the vessel and the crew onboard after it fled from Nigeria’s Akpo oilfield when its activities were uncovered by operatives of the Nigerian Navy.

In November 2022, the very large crude carrier (VLCC) was brought back to Nigeria for further investigations.


On January 10, 2023, the 26-men crew and the vessel were charged to a federal high court in Port Harcourt, after which they pleaded guilty and agreed to enter into a plea bargain with the country. 

They were also to pay conviction fines and restitution to the federal government as well as make an apology to Nigeria in print,  electronic media, and Llyod’s List, an English maritime newspaper. 

However, the government also agreed not to further criminally prosecute and investigate the vessel, its owners, charterers, and crew. 


Speaking on the latest development, Adamu said the owners of the vessel apologised to the federal government on Lloyd’s List on May 12, 2023. 

“The same apology was published in the Punch Newspaper (Page 27) of 18 May 2023. The vessel regretted the false pirate attack alarm she raised on 7 August 2023 which was in clear defiance of the state being that she disobeyed the orders of Nigerian Navy Ship GONGOLA after an attempt to load crude oil without appropriate approvals from NNPCL and the necessary security clearance,” he said. 

“The subsequent transfer of the ship from Equatorial Guinea after she had escaped Nigerian waters and her prosecution under the suppression of piracy and other maritime offences (SPOMO) act, 2019 further demonstrates the Nigerian navy’s practical commitment to ensure that only valid and authorised vessels are allowed to carry out export of crude oil or gas anti-counterfeit at the various oil terminals and this is with a view to enhancing energy security governance in the country for improved national prosperity as directed by the FGN. 

“Pertinently, MT heroic idun having fulfilled all the aforementioned conditions of the plea bargain to the satisfaction of the federal high court has been released today Saturday 27 May 2023 to its owners, Idun Maritime Limited with the consent of the court and approval of the FGN.” 




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