The M/T "San Padre Pio" (No. 2) Case (Switzerland/Nigeria)
On 17 December 2019, Switzerland and Nigeria transmitted a special agreement and notification to the Tribunal to submit to it the dispute concerning the arrest and detention of the M/T “San Padre Pio”, its crew and cargo. The case was entered in the Tribunal’s list of cases as Case No. 29.
By order dated 7 January 2020, the President of the Tribunal fixed 6 July 2020 as the time-limit for the filing of the memorial by Switzerland and 6 January 2021 as the time-limit for the filing of the counter-memorial by Nigeria, and reserved the subsequent procedure for further decision. The memorial by Switzerland was filed within the prescribed time-limit.
By order dated 5 January 2021, the President of the Tribunal extended the time-limit for the submission of the counter-memorial by Nigeria to 6 April 2021 and reserved the subsequent procedure for further decision. The counter-memorial of Nigeria was not filed within the extended time-limit.
On 30 April 2021, the President of the Tribunal held consultations with the representatives of Switzerland and Nigeria in order to ascertain their views with regard to questions of procedure and the scheduling of the hearing on the merits.
By order dated 18 June 2021, the President of the Tribunal fixed 9 September 2021 as the date for the opening of the oral proceedings.
By letter of 30 July 2021, filed in the Registry on 2 August 2021, the Agent of Switzerland requested that "[i]n view of the ongoing implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concluded by Switzerland and Nigeria on 20 May 2021 regarding the issue of the M/T 'San Padre Pio' … the opening of the oral proceedings be postponed until a later date towards the end of fall 2021". By letter of 3 August 2021, the Registrar invited the Agent of Nigeria to indicate the views of Nigeria with regard to Switzerland’s request for postponement by Wednesday, 4 August 2021. No response was received from the Agent of Nigeria. By order dated 10 August 2021, the President of the Tribunal, having regard to the special circumstances of the case and having sought the views of the Parties, decided to postpone the opening of the oral proceedings until a later date to be fixed after consultations with the Parties and reserved the subsequent procedure for further decision.
By letter dated 10 December 2021, the Agent of Switzerland stated that, according to the Memorandum of Understanding concluded between the Parties, the proceedings before the Tribunal "shall be discontinued from the moment that the M/T 'San Padre Pio' enters the high seas, or the territorial sea or Exclusive Economic Zone of another State" and that, as of 10 December 2021, the vessel had "exited the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria, and entered the exclusive economic zone of Bénin". In the said letter, the Agent of Switzerland further stated that, in accordance with the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, "Switzerland requests the Tribunal to record the discontinuance of the M/T 'San Padre Pio' (No. 2) case (Switzerland/Nigeria) (Case No 29) in accordance with Article 105 of the ITLOS Rules and to remove the case from Tribunal’s List of cases". In a letter dated 24 December 2021, the Agent of Nigeria indicated that "on the 10th of December, 2021, San Padre Pio was released and departed the Maritime space of Nigeria and entered the Exclusive Economic Zone of Benin Republic" and that, "[o]n this basis therefore, Nigeria has no objection whatsoever to the discontinuance of the case by the Tribunal as already notified by Switzerland". In accordance with article 105 of the Rules of the Tribunal, the President of the Tribunal, by order dated 29 December 2021, placed on record the discontinuance, by agreement of the Parties, of the proceedings and ordered that the case be removed from the List of cases.