Ship’s crew held in Nigeria likely to be released soon

The release of 26 crew members, including 16 from India, from a very large crude oil carrier Heroic Idun looks likely soon.

Reports coming in say the Nigerian court handling the case is expected to give a favorable verdict later this week. Among the 16 Indian crew members, three are from Kerala. Of these, two are from Kochi and one from Kollam.

The ship was seized by Equatorial Guinea naval personnel on August 12, 2022 on charges of smuggling crude oil. The ship and crew were later taken to a Nigerian port, where they have since been held while Indian authorities open negotiations with the African country.

Matilda, the wife of Sanu Jose of Kadavanthra, who is among the crew detained in Nigeria, said reports had come in that the seafarers were now free of charges and a favorable verdict was awaited. Mr. Sanu Jose has been employed in the shipping industry since 2006.

Sources in one of the organizations dealing with supporting crew families said that the formalities and paperwork had to be completed before the crew could be released. It is expected that this work will take approximately two weeks to complete.

In addition to Indians, the crew includes eight Sri Lankans, one Polish and one Filipino national. The organization, which dealt with supporting the families and crew, was in contact with the seafarers until they were taken over by the Nigerian Armed Forces. It appears the crew’s cellphones were later confiscated, sources added.

While the seizure of the crude oil tanker is seen as part of the Nigerian government’s crackdown on oil theft, the crew’s detention has been described as a case of criminalizing seafarers and abusing their rights.

Related Articles

Back to top button