The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Tribunal) on 6 July issued an order to have Switzerland post a US $14 million bond to Nigeria for the release of bunker tanker M/T San Padre Pio, its cargo, the Master and three officers from Nigerian waters.
The Swiss-flagged 7,616 dwt bunker tanker M/T San Padre Pio was arrested by the Nigerian navy on 23 January 2018 and has been detained at Port Harcourt in Nigeria.
A panel of lawyers representing Switzerland argued “bunkering activities carried out by the M/T San Padre Pio in the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria are part of the freedom of navigation” and “that it has exclusive jurisdiction as the flag State over the vessel with respect to such bunkering activities”.
Nigeria’s argument was “it has sovereign rights and obligations […] to exercise its enforcement jurisdiction over the bunkering activities in question in its exclusive economic zone”.
The Tribunal “considers it appropriate under the circumstances of the present case to prescribe provisional measures requiring Nigeria to release the M/T San Padre Pio, its cargo and the Master and the three officers upon the posting of a bond or other financial security by Switzerland and that the vessel with its cargo and the Master and the three officers be allowed to leave the territory and maritime areas under the jurisdiction of Nigeria”
The Tribunal “determines that the bond or other financial security should be in the amount of US$ 14,000,000”.
The full judgment of the case heard by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea may be viewed here.
Photo credit: International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
Published: 18 July, 2019
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