Switzerland to sue Nigeria over 2018 oil tanker seizure

Image: MarineTraffic.com/Bettina Rohbrecht
San Padre Pio in 2014

Authorities in Switzerland have begun planning legal action against the Nigerian government for seizing and detaining a Swiss-flagged oil tanker in January of last year.

San Padre Pio and four of its original 16 crewmembers, all of whom are Ukrainian nationals, have since remained under Nigerian government custody in the Bay of Biafra for alleged diesel smuggling and illegal entry into Nigerian territorial waters.

The 12 other crewmembers were released a month and a half following their seizure by Nigerian authorities. However, the four crewmembers who remain in the country have been reportedly enduring “difficult” living conditions, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The decision to file the case with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea comes after diplomatic efforts by the Swiss government failed to ensure the release of the vessel and its remaining crew.

The Foreign Ministry decried the seizure and subsequent detention of San Padre Pio and its crew as “a violation of international law” and stated that Switzerland should exhaust all options “to safeguard its interests.”


Baird Maritime

Baird Maritime is one of the world's premier maritime publishing houses with headquarters in Melbourne, Australia and a publishing subsidiary in Hong Kong. The group produces two monthly magazines, Ausmarine and Work Boat World and a number of annual publications all focusing on various aspects of the commercial, government and military marine industries. It also presents this maritime portal.