A Camerounian and 11 Nigerians linked with the alleged stealing of 10, 000 litres of illegally refined diesel were at the weekend in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, handed over to an official of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ogbu Michael, by the Nigerian Navy (NN).
The suspects were arrested on May 16, 2013, off Brass River entrance by a Naval patrol team attached to the Forward Operations Base (FOB), Egweama, near Brass.
Operation Officer of the Central Naval Command, Yenagoa, Commodore Emmanuel Enemor, told journalists at the weekend in Yenagoa that the arrested Camerounian was identified as the Captain of the impounded vessel, MV Sea Giant.
Enemor said that the vessel allegedly lacked a ship log, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) bunkering permit and certificate of registration with the Joint Task Force (JTF).
Enemor said that the suspects allegedly claimed the product on the vessel was meant for running machine rises, but, a laboratory sample indicated that it was an illegally refined Automotive Gasoline Oil (AGO).
“MV Sea Giant operates under the business name and license of MOEN Marine Limited located in Victoria Island, Lagos. The Captain confessed during interrogation that the vessel came from Lagos to load AGO from a barge at Agbara offshore,” the Operations Officer said.
According to him, the Navy recorded the arrest due to its unrelenting effort to curb all forms of illegal activities in the maritime environment.
He said: “Besides, the territorial waters, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the high sea, other water bodies that are of serious concern to us in the fight against criminalities in the Command are the Brass River, Nun River, St. Nicholas River and Santa Barbara River. Others include the Sambreiro River, Middleton River, Akassa Creek and the Foropa Community.”
“In line with the charge handed to the Chief of Naval Staff by President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to eradicate crude oil theft and other criminality from the country’s waters, the Chief of Naval Staff has ordered all-round patrol of inland waters.”