Lagos — The Nigerian Navy has said that MT Heroic Idun and its 26 crew members will not be released until the fines imposed on them are paid.
This declaration, made by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, is coming after a court ordered the vessel and the crew to be released as part of a plea bargain. The court however imposed fines on the vessel and crew.
The vessel was arrested nine months ago, in Equatorial Guinea, after a failed attempt to lift crude oil from Nigerian waters without clearance, and raising the false alarm that pirates were pursuing it.
An out-of-court settlement was however arranged by the affected countries with the vessel and 26 crew members among who were citizens of India, Sri-Lanka, Pakistan and Poland were ordered to be released after a plea bargain.
“It is to be noted that the vessel and crew will not be released until the penalty and restitution are paid as well as public apologies made in the print and electronic media in Nigeria and Llyod’s list.
“The successful arraignment and conviction of Motor Tanker Heroic Idun and her crew arrested last August, sentenced after a plea bargain to pay N5 million as penalty for the charge and $15 million as restitution to the country, is a resilient indication that the Nigerian Navy, as the nation’s maritime sentinel, will stop at nothing to ensure the domain is safer for sustainable development of the nation’s blue economy,” Vice Admiral Gambo said.
Follow us on twitter