• Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

Nigerian Navy Smash Oil-Bunkering Syndicate, Apprehend Multiple Vessels

ByHybrid News

Aug 28, 2023

The Nigerian Navy has smashed oil-bunkering syndicates and apprehended multiple vessels engaged in illegal bunkering.

A statement signed by Commodore Kolawale Oguntuga read that the Nigerian Navy averted major collateral damage while ensuring legitimate businesses thrive within the maritime domain.

“The NNS BEECROFT’s patrol team has once again displayed its unparalleled commitment to combating illegal bunkering with the successful apprehension of multiple vessels engaged in illegal bunkering that could have resulted in shortage of products for distribution.

“On Sunday, 27 August 2023, a swift and coordinated operation led to thwarting of unlawful activities involving MT VIRGO 1, registered in Panama with IMO Number 9176412 and several other boats.

“Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, the remarkable Falcon Eye Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) facility, effectively tracked and monitored movements of vessels suspected of illicit activities. At approximately 11:52pm on 26 August 2023, a patrol team was dispatched to intercept and investigate suspicious activities around MT VIRGO 1.

“On arrival at the crime scene situated approximately 4 nautical miles from Lagos Fair-Way Buoy (FWB), the patrol team discovered a network of unlawful bunkering activities. Two substantial wooden boats, laden with hundreds of 200-liter drums and 50-liter jerry cans, were found receiving Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) through hoses from MT VIRGO 1.

“These nefarious activity, conducted without consideration for safety of other vessels around the vicinity could have ignited fire with attendant consequences. This was promptly halted, and perpetrators on the wooden boats, totaling 7 individuals, were apprehended.

“Furthermore, efforts were made to board MT VIRGO 1, to further determine the involvement of the vessel in the sabotage. It was subsequently revealed that the vessels was authorized to receive 15,000 metric tons of PMS from a MT CB ADRIATIC for delivery into NEPAL Storage, Oghara in Delta State.

“However, given the nefarious intentions of the crew to sabotage the legitimate business of the owner of MT VIRGO 1, the Nigerian Navy (NN) in its resolve to avoid undue hardship on law-abiding owners of such businesses, did not detain the vessel but focused on imposing appropriate sanctions on the captain of the vessel, under whose watch the economic sabotage was conducted.

Considering malicious motives of the crew to undermine the lawful operations of the vessel’s proprietor, the Nigerian Navy (NN) has chosen a course of action that avoids unnecessary burden on law-abiding business owners and has directed its efforts towards carrying out detailed investigation to unravel circumstances that led to the ugly incident, while defaulters will be severely sanctioned.

Furthermore, it is important to note that vessel owners bear a degree of responsibility to ensure employees adhere to stipulated regulations in the conduct of their business within the maritime domain, for economic prosperity of the nation.

“The NN under the leadership of Vice Admiral EI Ogalla remains dedicated in safeguarding the nation’s maritime interests, ensures legitimate businesses thrive, while upholding the rule of law at prosecuting offenders within the nation’s maritime domain” the statement read.

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