OIL THEFT: Nigerian Navy arrests Ghanaian vessel with two million-litre stolen crude


OIL THEFT: Nigerian Navy arrests Ghanaian vessel with two million-litre stolen crude


The Nigerian Navy says the teams operating under Operation Delta Sanity, have nabbed a Ghanaian vessel with 13 crew members for alleged crude oil theft.


It said the crew comprised of one Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians on board the Ghanaian-owned and registered vessel known as Motor Tanker SWEET MIRI.


The Director of Information, Navy, Rear Adm. Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, stated this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.


Ayo-Vaughan said the operation was conducted on February 25 at about 174 nm (approximately 320km) off Nigeria’s coast.


He said the vessel was heading towards Benin Republic and was observed to have switched off her Automatic Identification System in a bid to evade detection.


He said the infraction by the vessel contravened the International Ships and Port Security Code and was tagged a “Vessel of Interest” by the Nigerian 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 sample 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 promised 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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