Thanks to Swiss diplomacy: The «San Padre Pio» has left Nigeria after almost four years

Bern, 11.12.2021 - The Swiss-flagged San Padre Pio, which had been detained by Nigeria for nearly four years, left the country on 8 December 2021. The vessel is no longer in Nigeria's exclusive economic zone and is currently en route to Togo. Based on an agreement signed between Switzerland and Nigeria last May stipulating the release of the vessel, the departure of the San Padre Pio is a success story for Swiss diplomacy, which was closely involved in resolving the dispute between the two countries.

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 (MoU) providing for the vessel’s immediate release was signed on 20 May 2021. The agreement stipulated Nigeria's responsibility to release the San Padre Pio and for the companies involved in the vessel’s operations to take the necessary measures (such as various repairs) to allow it to actually depart. The departure finally took place on 8 December 2021.

As the vessel has now 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 discontinued as provided for in the MoU. In accordance with the terms of the MoU, Switzerland and Nigeria were able to resolve their dispute over the San Padre Pio.

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