The Nigerian government returned the Swiss tanker ‘MT San Padre Pio’ to the government of Switzerland Saturday, three years after the ship was seized by the Nigerian Navy.
he navy arrested the vessel with its 16 Ukrainian crew members back on 23 January 2018 after it was caught transferring oil into another ship in the middle of the night, within Nigerian waters, without permission from relevant authorities, local media reported.
After the seizure, the crew was charged to the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt for trial and the Swiss government instituted a court action, said Francis Oni, an official in the Federal Ministry of Justice, while handing over the vessel and cargo to the representatives of the Swiss government at a brief ceremony in Onne, Rivers State.
Later, some of the crew members were released, while some remained onboard to maintain the vessel. The release came following diplomatic talks between then-Vice President and now President of Switzerland, Guy Parmelin, and Nigeria Vice President Osinbajo, that ended up in the signing of a MoU on May 20 for the unconditional release of MT San Padre Pio to the Swiss government.