Navy hands over impounded vessel, 20 suspected oil thieves to EFCC
vessel was found to be carrying about 700,000 litres, which is about 603 metric tons or 4,402 barrels of illegally sourced crude oil worth about $315,500 (N148,281,000)
By Kuwekuzi Aigbe
The Nigerian Navy Ship Soroh (NNS) have handed over impounded vessel MTT4 and 20 arrested suspected Crude Oil thieves aboard the vessel to the officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The handing over of the vessel, which was arrested at sea in December by the naval outfit was concluded at Akassa River, Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The Commander NNS Soroh, Cdr. Patrick Effah, who handed over the vessel to EFCC in Brass, on Saturday, said the vessel was loaded with about 700,000 litres of illegally sourced crude oil.
He said that the vessel was arrest on December 6, 2021, with its crew apprehended for their indulgence in crude oil theft within the Akassa River.
The vessel was found to be carrying about 700,000 litres, which is about 603 metric tons or 4,402 barrels of illegally sourced crude oil worth about $315,500 (N148,281,000) without the requisite approval for such cargo.
Effah, said the handing over of the vessel to the commission was in compliance with the naval headquarters’ directives.
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The Commodore, said the vessel and her Crew are complicit on the crime that borders on economic sabotage.
According to him: “The Nigerian Navy has been given the mandate to apprehend any ship suspected to be carrying out illegalities in the Nigerian maritime domain, however, by law, we are not allowed to carry out prosecution of offenders.
“We are directed to handover seized vessels to the EFCC for further investigations and possible prosecution,” he said.
Mr. Anthony Mark, a Senior Detective Superintendent and leader of the EFCC team from Port Harcourt Zonal office received the vessel and promised that EFCC would carry out thorough investigation into the matter.
“We will carry out thorough investigation with a view to determining the level of involvement, content of the vessel and prosecution of those involved,” he said.
Also at the event handling over ceremony, officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) took samples of the content of the vessels for further laboratory analysis.