Navy Arrest Foreign Vessel With 720,000 Litres Stolen Crude
The Nigerian Navy says it arrested Motor Tanker SAISNIL II with about 720,000 Liters of Crude Oil Sludge allegedly stolen from an oil facility in the Niger Delta region.
The St. Vincent & Grenadines flag vessel was arrested along with it’s 11 crew men onboard
The ship which was allegedly arrested around 199 nautical miles off Lagos coast was later brought to Lagos where the captain, the Chief Engineer and others are being interrogated.
It was learnt that the Captain of the ship had deliberately turned off the Automatic Identification System (AIS), which is a grievous infraction within the nation’s maritime domain.
The ship had sailed from Lagos Anchorage on November 23, 2023 to Taraba Jetty in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to evacuate about 720,000 Liters of Crude Oil Sludge.
A naval source at the base said the Authorities in charge of the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS BEECROFT, became suspicious of the activities of the vessel minutes after the AIS was turned off.
Confirming the arrest, the Commander of NNS BEECROFT, Commodore Kolawole Oguntuga, confirmed that the ship was a St. Vincent & Grenadines flag vessel and that it had 11 crew men onboard as at the time of arrest.
Commodore Oguntuga, who also doubles as the Commander of the Maritime Component Commander Operation AWATSE , explained that the activities of a vessel cannot be determined when the AIS systems is turned off and it is during such occasions that illegalities are perpetrated.
Oguntuga explained that such singular act, necessitated the deployment of the Nigerian Navy Ship SOKOTO, adding that the navy gunboat had to sail 199 nautical miles to intercept and returned the vessel to Lagos Anchorage.
“MT SAISNIL II initially sailed from Lagos Anchorage on November 23, 2023 to Taraba Jetty in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to evacuate about 720,000 Liters of Crude Oil Sludge but the manipulation of it AIS around ABO Field for over 48 hours gave rise to a reasonable suspicion of illegalities.
“Samples of the product onboard has been taken for analysis at the appropriate laboratory and the outcome of the analysis will determine the next line of action. The vessel is opened to any agency that wants to get samples onboard for analysis to confirm the product onboard.
This became necessary as the Nigerian Navy remains resolute in ensuring transparency towards ensuring holistic maritime security.
“The successful detection leveraging technology and arrest of MT SAISNIL II despite the distance from the coast aligns with key priorities of the Strategic Directives of Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, Chief of the Naval Staff, emphasizing the Navy’s unweaving commitment to eradicating crude oil theft within the nations maritime environment for economic prosperity of our dear nation,” he added. (Daily Trust)