JULY 9, 2013 — Sweden’s Stena Oil says that the West African republic of São Tomé e Príncipe has wrongfully confiscated two ships it had chartered including the cargo. The captains have been severely sentenced to three years of imprisonment and charged with “smuggling” in a show trial. A fine of 5 million EUR has been imposed, and the vessels and cargo have been confiscated by the state.
Stena Oil says its clear and firm position that the allegations are entirely unfounded. Neither the shipowners nor Stena Oil have been given the opportunity by any court to clear the false allegations against them. The São Tomé court has refused to consider evidence that would clearly prove the innocence of all the accused parties, including the captains who have now been imprisoned. After nearly four months, the situation remains unresolved and has thus far cost Stena Oil and the owners of the ships more than $3 million.