BY GABRIEL OKECHUKWU, PORT HOURT
Federal Government has arraigned crew members and Crude Carrier, MT HEROIC IDUM at Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, on three count charge, bordering on Unlawful entrance into Akpo Oil field, raising false piracy alarm to avoid arrest and an attempt to lift Crude oil without clearance.
Their arraignment followed a dogged operation by Nigerian Navy which saw the runaway vessel with capacity of three million litres brought back alongside the crew from Equatorial Guinea.
When the case was called, the prosecuting Counsel, Assistant Chief State Counsel, Abidemi Adewumi-Aluko said that it was not possible to produce all foreign twenty Six defendants in court at the same day and asked that sixteen of them who were present take their plea, while the remaining ten appear on a separate day.
Similarly, the counsel to defendants Udoka Ezeobi, pleaded that they be allowed access to medical needs and their lawyers.
However, sixteen out of the twenty six crew members who were present in court pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The presiding judge, Justice Turaki Mohammed after listening to the counsels, ruled that the defendants be remanded in the vessel and adjourned to Tuesday 15th November for the rest to appear in court.
Earlier on, the Captain of the vessel, Mr. Danuj Meheta denied that they were in the oil field to steal oil.
Mr. Meheta who is an Indian claimed that there was a mix-up in their documentation.