Oil & Gas

How Navy Intercepted Ghanaian Vessel With Stolen Crude Oil

Rita Enemuru, Reporting

THE Nigerian Navy, Operation Delta Sanity, has given details on how it intercepted a Ghanaian-owned vessel with two million litres of stolen crude and arrested 13 suspects including a Ghanaian.

The Director of Information, Navy, Rear Adm. Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, stated that the operation was conducted on February 25 at about 174 nm (approximately 320km) off Nigeria’s coast in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

It was stated that the arrested crew which comprised of one Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians were on board the  Ghanaian-owned and registered vessel known as Motor Tanker SWEET MIRI.

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 added that the infraction by the vessel breached 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 to further ascertain the culpability or otherwise of the vessel.

In line with the directive of Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, Ayo-Vaughan said the relevant approving/prosecuting agencies had been notified for sample collection to further ascertain the culpability or otherwise of the vessel.

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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