On 3 May 2023 the Nigerian Navy published a press release providing an update on the domestic proceedings concerning the M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘ incident of August 2022, from the perspective of the Nigerian Navy. Following the domestic proceedings previously reported, according to the Nigerian Navy, on 10 January 2023 the ship and crew were charged at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, whereupon M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘ “and her 26 foreign crew pleaded guilty and elected voluntarily to enter into a plea bargain agreement with the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as make restitution to the Federal Government”. The owners are said to have made the plea bargain under Section 270(1)(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which “was in the interest of justice, the public and for public policy interest” (thus, presumably accepted by the prosecutor under Section 270(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015). According to the Nigerian Navy press release, the court ordered release of the M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘ and crew is conditional on the terms of the plea bargain agreement being first fulfilled, as agreed, which include the M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘ “and its owners are to pay fines to the Federal Government and make an apology to the Federal Republic of Nigeria in print and electronic media as well as Llyod’s list. On its part, the Federal Government agreed not to further criminally prosecute and/or investigate the vessel, her owners, charterers or her crew in the matter of her crime against the State”. For more information see the related international proceedings concerning the M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘, previously reported.
Update 15 May 2023: On 12 May 2023 a public apology by the owners of the M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘ to the Federal Government of Nigeria was published in Lloyd’s List. The apology concerns the reporting of the approach of a Nigerian patrol vessel “as what was thought at the time to be a possible piracy attack”. The apology has been acknowledged and re-circulated by the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Government.