Tanker crew finally return home after 10-month detention in Nigeria

Heroic Idun Crew Boards Flights Ending 10-Month Ordeal
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After being detained in Nigeria for 10 months, the crew of the tanker Heroic Idun have finally returned to their home countries. The sailors had been detained in a dispute with Nigeria regarding alleged illegal loading of oil by the ship. The crew consisted of 16 Indians, eight Sri Lankans, one Polish, and one Filipino, who were assisted by Sailors’ Society with counseling and support after their long ordeal. Upon their arrival in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the charity supported them with pastoral and psychosocial assistance to help them adapt to freedom and prepare for their return to their families and friends.

Boet van Schalkwyk, a member of Sailors’ Society’s crisis team, stated that though the crew appeared to be in good spirits, they had clearly undergone a traumatic and drawn-out ordeal. The tanker had been initially detained in Equatorial Guinean and returned to Nigeria late last year for the crew to stand trial, but a settlement was reached in April for the vessel’s owners to pay a fine and publicly apologize to Nigeria.

Sailors’ Society reports that its teams were in constant contact with the 26 crewmembers during their long ordeal. The organization’s CEO Sara Baade stated that the situation had been especially trying for the seafarers when their phones were confiscated by the Nigerian authorities. The charity supported the crew’s families back in India until their release and provided support through every development in the case. The tanker continues to sail to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where it is expected to arrive on June 10.

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