• Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Nigerian Navy Nabs Motor Tanker “VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS” For Crude Oil Theft


In a significant breakthrough against illicit maritime activities, the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Igbokoda, Ondo State, orchestrated the arrest of the 77-meter-long Motor Tanker (MT) “VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS” on suspicion of crude oil theft. The vessel, carrying 17 crew members, was apprehended in the early hours of Thursday, December 7, 2023, at approximately 3:00 am.

The arrest was prompted by credible intelligence received by FOB Igbokoda regarding illegal crude oil siphoning activities at the EBESAN oil field, situated approximately 7 nautical miles off the coast of Awoye riverine community in Ilaje Local Government Area, Ondo State.

The swift response of FOB Igbokoda personnel led to the interception of the vessel as it was illicitly siphoning crude oil from one of the well heads at the EBESAN oil field. Upon approach, the two boats attached to the vessel attempted to flee on sighting the naval personnel, confirming suspicions of illegal activities.

Upon investigation, it was revealed that the vessel was actively involved in siphoning crude oil from both sides of the well head. The vessel, manned by 17 Nigerian crew members, possessed a storage capacity of about 15,000 metric tonnes and had already loaded approximately 500 Metric tonnes of crude oil at the time of arrest.

This apprehension underscores the Nigerian Navy’s unwavering commitment to eradicating crude oil theft and other illegal activities within Nigeria’s maritime domain. Authorities warn that perpetrators of such illegalities will face stringent measures and the full force of the law.

The Nigerian Navy urges legitimate individuals engaged in lawful maritime activities to continue their operations, while imploring the public to collaborate by promptly reporting any suspicious activities, especially in coastal communities, for swift and necessary action.

Moreover, suspicions arose regarding the involvement of Tantita Security Service (TSS) in these illegal activities, as the Awoye riverine area, adjacent to the arrest location, falls under TSS coverage. However, the Nigerian Navy dismisses these allegations raised post the vessel’s arrest as baseless and misleading.

Despite external challenges, the Nigerian Navy remains resolute in its constitutional mandate to safeguard Nigeria’s maritime environment for national economic development and prosperity, reinforcing its commitment to stamping out maritime criminalities.

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor is a seasoned journalist and the CEO/Founder Belch Digital Communications, publishers of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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