11 arrested as Navy intercepts vessel with stolen crude

The Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft has arrested a motor tanker, SAISNIL II, allegedly involved in crude oil theft in Lagos State.

According to a statement released on Saturday by the NNS Base Information Officer, Lieutenant H Ibrahim, the St. Vincent & Grenadines flag vessel had 11 crew onboard at the time of arrest.

The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral MB Hassan, was quoted in the statement, as saying that SAISNIL II initially sailed from Lagos anchorage to the Taraba Jetty in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to evacuate about 720,000 litres of crude oil sludge on November 23, 2023.

Hassan added that the manipulation of the vessel’s Automatic Identification System around ABO Field for over 48 hours raised concerns about illegalities.

He also stated that the infraction necessitated the deployment of NNS Sokoto, which sailed 199 nautical miles to intercept and return the vessel to Lagos anchorage.

The statement read, “In a commendable display of maritime security prowess the patrol team of NNS Beecroft under the auspices of the Commander, Commodore Kolawole Olumide Oguntuga, who also is the Maritime Component Commander Operation Awatse, arrested a vessel motor tanker SAISNIL II, St. Vincent & Grenadines flag vessel which had 11 crew onboard at the time of arrest.

“SAISNIL II initially sailed from Lagos anchorage on November 23, 2023, to Taraba Jetty in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to evacuate about 720,000 litres of crude oil sludge.

“The vessel was observed to have turned off its Automatic Identification System, around ABO Field for over 48 hours, which is a grievous infraction within the nation’s maritime domain, and this gave rise to a reasonable suspicion of illegalities.

“The infraction necessitated the deployment of Nigerian Navy Ship Sokoto, which sailed 199 nautical miles to intercept and return the vessel to Lagos anchorage.”

He added that the vessel is open to any agency that wants to get samples for analysis to confirm the product onboard.

“Samples of the product onboard have been taken for analysis at the appropriate laboratory and the outcome of the analysis will determine the next line of action.

“Also, the vessel is open to any agency that wants to get samples for analysis to confirm the product onboard.

“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.

In November, the Navy Ship Beecroft discovered and halted the siphoning of petrol from an oil pipeline at Atlas Cove, Lagos belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.

Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines

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