BY PHILIP NWOSU
The Nigerian Navy said it has impounded two oil vessels laden with 745,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) with the street value of nearly N150million.
The petroleum products it was gathered was impounded from two vessels MV SHIRLEY and MT VINE, Nigerian flagged vessels with combined crew strength of 14.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah said the vessels were arrested separately by personnel of the Western Naval Command while on routine patrol of its Area of Responsibility.
Admiral Abbah spoke while handing the vessels, the product and the crew to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), explaining that MV SHIRLEY was caught on April 19, 2017 with 145 metric tons of AGO without valid document for carrying petroleum products within the country’s water ways, while MT Vines was arrested on June 9, 2017 with 600 metric tons of AGO.
He said the vessels were arrested in line with the Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas directive to rid the Nigerian maritime environment of criminalities, adding that illegalities within the country’s territorial waters such as crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the nation’s maritime environment would no longer be tolerated.
Admiral Abbah said: “Therefore in line with the directives of the Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral I.E Ibas and in compliance with extant regulations, the two vessels MV SHIRLEY and MT VINE will be handed over to the EFCC today for further investigation and possible prosecution.”
He warned that the Western Naval Command would not tolerated any act of criminality within its AOR warning persons or group seeking to test the will of the navy to desist from such act.
His word: “The Command has credible information that most of the illegally sourced petroleum products from the Niger Delta find Lagos as the final destination and market, let me warn that the Western Naval Command has zero tolerance for every form of criminality in its AOR and therefore advice defaulters to desist from such acts.”
The Commander of NNS BEECROFT, Commodore Maurice Eno led officers of the EFFC , DPR and the Media to a jetty in Kirikiri were they handed over the products, the vessel and the crew to the EFCC operatives led by the Head of Extractive Industry Fraud Section, Idris Abdullahi Abubakar.