The VLCC at the centre of a legal battle over an alleged plot to illegally load oil has been remotely disabled to stop it from being taken to Nigeria under its own power.

The 300,000-dwt Heroic Idun (built 2020) remains off the island of Bioko, in Equatorial Guinea, while its owner, insurer and other shipping bodies seek to prevent the tanker and its 26-strong international crew from being taken to Nigeria.

The crew had come under pressure to restart the ship but the engine manufacturer has now acted to prevent it being able to make the short voyage to Nigeria, according to officials working to secure the release of the crew.