The Nigerian Navy said on Wednesday that an alleged piracy attack and abduction of sailors on a ship named MT Apecus on April 19, 2019 was stage managed by one Osimili Adah, who is the Managing Director of Petrogress Incorporation in Nigeria.
The Executive Officer of Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder Port Harcourt, Navy Capt. Adegoke Ebo, who disclosed this in Port Harcourt, said his men arrested Adah and 17 others including one Indian for allegedly attempting to illegally export stolen crude oil to Ghana.
While handing over the suspects and vessels to the police at the naval base in Port Harcourt on Wednesday for further investigation, Ebo said the suspects had planned to move stolen crude oil from Nigeria with MT Apecus and MT Invictus, believed to be owned by Petrogress Incorporation with offices in Nigeria, Greece and U.S.
He stated that the suspects were on the verge of moving the crude oil to Ghana before they were arrested by naval forces.
He said, “Among those arrested was the Managing Director of Petrogress Incorporation in Nigeria, Osimili Adah.
“Adah stationed two vessels, MT Apecus and MT Invictus at Qua Iboe (Akwa Ibom) and in Bonny (Rivers) with intent to lift the petroleum product before the seizure.
“Our findings revealed that Adah has been actively involved in sourcing crude oil from Nigerian creeks and shipping it to Platon Gas Oil Refinery in Tema, Ghana without clearance and approval.
“Additionally, evidence available to us suggests that the illicit crime had been going on for a while” Ebo alleged.
He said the suspect later disclosed names of his accomplices and facilitators as well as presented evidence and proof to the illicit trading.
He said during interrogation, Adah revealed that the report of pirate attack on MT Apecus was stage managed.
Five Indians and two Nigerians were reportedly abducted onboard MT Apecus by suspected sea pirates off the coast of Bonny in Rivers on April 19.
According to Ebo, the pirate attack occurred following disagreement between two alleged oil thieves over rights to lift stolen crude oil abroad.
“Contrary to the initial reports, our investigation revealed that the abduction was rather as a result of failed oil theft collaboration.
“Investigation revealed that one of the aggrieved syndicate resorted to the abduction of the five Indians and two Nigerians.
“Also, information made available from a sister maritime agency revealed that MT Apecus had been conducting trading activities in Nigerian waters since 2014 without clearance and approval.
“It was found that the vessel has changed name and flag under which she operates no fewer than on 15 instances,” he said.
Adah confessed to newsmen of his alleged involvement in the illegal trade.
He said that he was an agent to the two vessels, but that MT Apecus entered into Nigeria without his knowledge and consent.