Sixteen crew members from India associated with a cargo vessel dubbed MT Heroic Idun, who had been in detention for more than nine months in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, have finally returned to India after the Government negotiated with relevant Nigerian authorities.
Today, the official sources declared that 26 crew members of the cargo vessel, including 16 from India, had been detained since August 2022. They were in detention in Equatorial Guinea and, later on, in Nigeria and were accused of several types of crimes, including oil theft. The official sources explained, following lengthy negotiations, the charges against the crew members were reportedly dropped, and the vessel was also released on 27 May after paying fines.
The Indian Mission officials remained in constant contact with the crew members and undertook consular access several times.
The Government of India, via its missions in Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria and through bilateral meetings, took up the issue with relevant foreign authorities at various levels. The sources said they had been pressed for an early resolution of the matter and repatriation of the crew members.
Following interventions with the Nigerian Government, the crew members were permitted to be on the vessel with the provision of daily food instead of being moved to a detention centre on land. They were also permitted periodic contact with their loved ones. The Indian Mission worked with the shipping firm for legal representation to be promptly arranged for the crew members.
The relevant Nigerian authorities had been informed that there was no instance of oil theft, required permissions were accorded, and the crew members were not privy to the decisions of the operations. Humanitarian problems of some of the members of the crew were highlighted.
References: Deccan Herald, All India Radio News, The Federal
Shipping News You Would Like:
Latest Shipping News You Would Like:
Get the Latest Maritime News Delivered to Your Inbox!
Our free, fast, and fun newsletter on the global maritime industry, delivered everyday.