An online news service, gcaptain, has linked the kidnap of two American sailors in the Niger Delta region last week, to the menace of oil theft.
Pirates had last Wednesday stormed an oil supply vessel, the C-Retriever, off southern Nigeria and kidnapped the ship’s captain and chief engineer, both US citizens.
The U.S. flagged C-Retriever is owned by American oil servicing company Edison Chouest Offshore.
In an article titled “The Business” Offshore Nigeria Has American Roots, gcaptain stated: “Money is undoubtably the motivating factor in the kidnapping, but as we noted last week, the use of locals on board the vessels is also of significant importance. It’s not about the Ijaw community’s threat to Edison Chouest about hiring locals so that they can earn hourly wages, the locals want to work on board these vessels so that more of them can get a cut of the money from the illegal fuel theft trade.
“Make no mistake; although the fuel theft trade may be technically illegal, our sources note that it is most definitely the way business is done in Nigeria. If you’re working on a supply vessel or anchor handler out of Port Harcourt or Onne and you’re not involved in the fuel theft trade, one source we spoke with today notes that you will be soon, or you’ll be packing your bags home because corruption expects to be paid,” gcaptain stated in an article it posted yesterday.
While not indicting the two kidnapped American sailors of complicity in the illicit oil trade, it however traced the root of oil theft in the world’s largest black nation to America.
It stated: “It’s absolutely possible however that the two kidnapped Americans were not involved in the fuel theft scheme and that their crew turned on them because of that reason. The fuel theft industry is a massive business involving many of the terminal managers, locals, expats, and military in the area.
“According to our sources, 100 tons of fuel is a typical transfer. One of the militants in the area even just bought himself a personal jet according to a source. Oddly enough however, the fuel theft business seems to have been born in America. Our sources note that years ago, supply boats coming in and out of Louisiana fudged their numbers and sold fuel under the radar. This business has now spread to Nigeria, and truly all around the world.”