A spokesperson for the Nigerian Navy told Reuters that an oil super tanker that had been suspected by the country’s officials of trying to illegally load crude before leaving its territorial seas was now returning home.
The Heroic Idun, a ship with a capacity for 2 million barrels of oil, was captured by Equatorial Guinea on August 17 at the request of Nigerian authorities for sailing without an identification flag, evading the Nigerian navy, and traveling in Equatorial Guinean seas without permission. According to Nigeria’s official oil firm, oil theft has reduced the country’s oil production by more than 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), wrecked state finances, and moved Nigeria from Africa’s top exporter to number two.
Nigeria said the ship made a false report of a pirate assault, entered a restricted region without permission, and attempted to carry crude oil illegally. However, Nigeria claimed the ship had not carried any oil when the Navy approached it.
It claimed that they had given Equatorial Guinea a fine in September in exchange for the release of the ship and her crew, and it referred to the vessel’s ongoing incarceration as “terrible maritime injustice.”