Home News Crude oil theft: Navy intercepts Ghanaian vessel, arrests 13 crew members

Crude oil theft: Navy intercepts Ghanaian vessel, arrests 13 crew members

by Nike
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The Nigerian Navy (NN) has said its teams operating under Operation Delta Sanity, have nabbed a Ghanian Vessel, with 13 crew members for alleged crude oil theft.

The Naval spokesman, Rear Adm. Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, said the crew comprised of one Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians on board the Ghanaian owned and registered vessel known as Motor Tanker (MT) SWEET MIRI.

Ayo-Vaughan said the operation was conducted on Feb. 25 at about 174 nm (approximately 320km) off Nigeria’s coast, heading toward Benin Republic, after the vessel was observed to have switched off her Automatic Identification System (AIS) in a bid to evade detection.

He said the infraction by the vessel contravened the International Ships and Port Security Code (ISPS) and was tagged a “Vessel of Interest” (VoI) by the Nigeria navy.

According to him, the navy Maritime Domain Awareness infrastructure observed the criminal intent of the vessel and subsequently vectored two NN ships on patrol to interrogate the vessel.

“It was discovered that MT SWEET MIRI was involved in illegalities and the vessel was subsequently arrested.

“Curiously, the suspicious disposition of the vessel necessitated the swift deployment of Nigerian navy Ship ABA and Nigerian navy ship SOKOTO to intercept the vessel.

“Notably, upon arrest, MT SWEET MIRI was found carrying about two million litres of product suspected to be crude oil without any form of approval from relevant authorities,” he said.

Ayo-Vaughan said the relevant approving/prosecuting agencies had been notified for samples collection with a view to further ascertaining the culpability or otherwise of the vessel.

This, he said, was in line with the directive of Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, for an in-depth and independent investigation, adding that it was necessary to unmask the enemies of the nation and to institute holistic and detailed investigations.

He assured that the navy, through the reinvigorated Operation Delta Sanity would continue to collaborate with relevant maritime, security and law enforcement agencies to closely monitor, evaluate and interdict where infractions were suspected.

This, according to him, is to bring economic saboteurs to book in line with relevant extant laws of the land.

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