The FDFA and the Federal Ministry of Justice of Nigeria have signed an agreement under which Nigeria will immediately release the ship San Padre Pio. The vessel, which flies the Swiss flag, was detained in January 2018 in Nigeria’s exclusive economic zone.
Following extensive diplomatic efforts by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research and the Federal Department of Finance, a memorandum of understanding providing for the immediate release of the vessel was signed on 20 May 2021. 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 agreement was signed by Nigeria’s minister of justice and the Swiss ambassador in Nigeria.
The agreement is the result of numerous interventions of Switzerland vis-à-vis Nigeria with a view to the release of the vessel. Once the vessel has been able to leave Nigeria’s exclusive economic zone, the legal proceeding pending before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg can be terminated.
The San Padre Pio was detained in Nigeria’s exclusive economic zone in January 2018. Switzerland had initiated legal proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.