The Nigerian Navy on Wednesday in Lagos arrested and handed over two vessels with 14 crew members on-board to the Economic Financial and Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation and possible prosecution.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command (WNC), Rear Adm. Sylvanus Abbah, disclosed this to newsmen at the command’s headquarters in Lagos.
“In line with the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ibas’s directives to rid Nigeria’s maritime environment of criminalities, personnel of the WNC while on routine patrol arrested two vessels and 14 crew members.
“The two arrested vessels, MV SHIRLEY and MT VINE, were laden with suspected stolen petroleum products,’’ he said.
According to the FOC, MV SHIRLEY and its eight crew members were arrested on April 19 at about 6 p.m. at Lagos anchorage for allegedly dealing in petroleum products.
“The vessel was laden with about 145 metric tonnes (MT) of AGO without valid documents for carrying petroleum products in Nigerian waters.
“Samples of the products were taken for laboratory test to ascertain its quality which the test result did not meet the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Standard Organisation of Nigeria’s (SON) specification which indicated that the product was illegally refined,’’ he said.
The FOC said MT VINE was also arrested on June 9 on arrival at SB BAKARE Jetty, Kirikiri in Lagos to discharge product.
“During the arrest, it was observed that the flash point of the product was higher than that specified by DPR and SON.
“More so, the colour of the product was off DPR standard as indicated by the laboratory analysis.
“The haulage of the vessel was carried out and it was discovered that the vessel was carrying about 600MT of AGO as against the 400MT quantity authorised,’’ he said.
Abbah reiterated that the Navy in its renewed efforts to curb maritime domain of illegalities would not tolerate any fraudulent activities in the nation’s maritime environment.
“The command has zero tolerance for every form of criminality in its area of responsibility and advises defaulters to desist from such act or face the wrath of the law,’’ Abbah warned.