Pirates and States in the same business, Gulf of Guinea
Two chemical tankers, Marida Melissa and Duzgit Integrity, chartered by Swedish Stat Oil, were arrested by Sao Tome and Principe coast guard on Mar 15 13 in Sao Tome inner waters for unauthorized entering and smuggling of oil. Vessels were chartered for offshore industry services in Gulf of Guinea, and were performing regular STS operations outside Sao Tome waters, when weather deteriorates so that vessels had to shelter. According to the stories published by local and Swedish media, tankers asked Sao Tome coast guard for the permission to enter Sao Tome waters, and were granted the permission. Nevertheless, some time later both vessels were arrested, coast guard later claimed there were no shelter requests.
The trial, which took place between Mar 26 and 30, sentenced Stat Oil to a fine of $5 million and confiscations of the vessels, both masters were sentenced to three years in prison. The information about the sentence and the trial is rather confused, one may think Sao Tome would sentence Stat Oil to sell everything it has to compensate Sao Tome for immeasurable harm the country suffered. It’s more and more difficult to understand in Gulf of Guinea, what is the difference between the authorities and the pirates, except in volume of loot they collect. State pirates seem to be much better off, than mere mobsters.
Both vessels are anchored off Sao Tome, it is understood, though not confirmed, that both Captains, of Turkish and Ukrainian nationalities, are kept under arrest.
Apr 9 13
Chemical tanker Marida Melissa, IMO 9438169, dwt 13121, built 2009, flag Marshall Islands, manager MARIDA TANKERS INC, USA.
Chemical tanker Duzgit Integrity, IMO 9380415, dwt 10736, built 2008, flag Malta, manager DSM GEMI ISLETMECILIGI AS, Turkey.