Written by Staff Writer
24 Feb, 2020 | 3:03 pm
Colombo (News 1st) – The Ministry of Foreign Relations notes that 7 Sri Lankan crew members are currently in custody in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Nigerian Navy had intercepted the vessel MT Zeebrugge in Nigerian waters while transporting 838 metric tons of crude oil on 12 December 2019 along with seven Sri Lankan crew members on board. The Sri Lankan crew members had informed the High Commission that they were not aware that the petroleum products they were transporting was illegal.
The Nigerian Navy has handed the case to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria for investigation and prosecution.
Officials of the Sri Lankan High Commission in Nigeria visited the Sri Lankan crew members on 20 February at the Beecroft Naval Base. The High Commission had appealed to the Nigerian authorities for the early release and repatriation of the Sri Lankan crew members.
EFCC officials informed that the case is being reviewed by the legal section of the EFCC and the crew members would be released if they are found to be innocent.
A release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Relations notes that the vessel owner and the shipping agent have not arranged proper legal assistance for the crew members till date.
The Ministry notes that in the recent past, Nigeria has arrested several Nigerians and foreigners for alleged oil smuggling.
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