The Federal Government has agreed to release a Swiss ship that has been under detention for more than three years following agreement between Nigeria and Switzerland.
Oriental News Nigeria, reports that the Swiss-flagged ship, an oil tanker, registered with canton Vaud shipping company ABC Maritime; was seized in January 2018 by Nigeria, on the strength of suspicion that the ship and its crew violated territorial waters and diesel smuggling.
The agreement was signed by Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN); as well as the Swiss ambassador to Nigeria, according to the Swiss foreign ministry.
Also, a corresponding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the immediate release of the San Padre Pio ship was signed Thursday; the ministry said in a statement.
The Swiss government had considered legal proceedings; after years of diplomatic efforts failed to convince the Nigerian government to release the ship.
“It is now incumbent on Nigeria to release the vessel and on the companies involved in operating the San Padre Pio; to take the necessary operational measures for the actual departure of the vessel,” the Swiss Ministry said in a statement.
It disclosed that the legal proceeding pending before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg can be terminated, once the vessel has been able to leave Nigeria’s exclusive economic zone.
The agreement was reached following considerable diplomatic efforts by the foreign ministry; in cooperation with the economics Ministry and the finance Ministry.