Navy Hands Over 15 Suspected Oil Thieves To Civil Defence Corps

nigerian oil thieves
The Nigerian Navy on Sunday in Port Harcourt handed over 15 suspected oil thieves along with six recovered vessels to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, for prosecution.
Executive Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Pathfinder, Olusegun Soyemi, who spoke at the handover, said that the suspects were arrested for alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering.
He said that one of the suspects was arrested while discharging diesel from a large wooden boat into five vessels without license.
Explaining how the suspects were caught, the officer explained that the Navy got intelligence on October 20 about illegal bunkering activity at a private jetty situated opposite the busy Slaughter Market in Port Harcourt and that upon arrival Naval troops “accosted five vessels and a large wooden boat loading products suspected to be stolen diesel.”
“The vessels, MV Denis, MV Faith, MV Lum VII, MV Eliora, and FP Comfort had no approval from Navy headquarters for the transaction,” he said.
Soyemi said that the prime suspect, who doubled as middleman for two companies fingered in the case, had provided useful information during preliminary investigations.
He said that the owners of the vessels were subsequently invited for questioning and had tended their statements.
He did not provide any information about the ships’ owners but added that they would further be investigated by the NSCDC while 20 other suspects arrested at the jetty were released after it was discovered that they were not be involved in the illicit trade.
Also, the officer said that the Navy handed over a 3,000 metric ton ship and its 14 member crew who allegedly attempted to steal crude oil from a major pipeline in the state.
“On October 2, troops of NNS Pathfinder impounded a 3,000 metric ton ship, MT Everest, which anchored at a location (few meters away from a pipeline) without any official reason to anchor there.
“We discovered the vessel which had been in operation since 2007 had no certificate of registration and clearance from the Nigerian Ports Authority and approval from the Navy in all of its operations.
He said that the cargo tanks were discovered to have been emptied and cleaned in readiness for loading with petroleum products.
Soyemi said that none of the crew members had certificate and competency to serve aboard the merchant
tanker ship.
Receiving the suspects and vessels, NSCDC Head of anti-Vandal Unit, Rivers command, Steven Morgan, said that thorough and forensic investigation would be carried out on the suspects and vessels and the suspects prosecuted if found guilty.

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