July 14, 2024
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Ghanaian Vessel Involved in Illegal Crude Oil Deals Arrested in Nigeria

The Nigerian Navy has arrested a syndicate of 13 members onboard a Ghanaian registered vessel with the inscription Motor Tanker, MT, SWEET MIRI, suspected to be involved in legalized dealings on the high seas.

The crew comprised a Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians.

The Nigerian Navy, in a statement by the Director of Information, Rear Adm. Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, revealed that the vessel carried about two million litres of products suspected to be crude oil.

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

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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 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 to further ascertain the culpability 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.


Source: Energy News Africa

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