• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

The Nigerian Navy has confirmed the product of Motor Tanker PRAISEL as High Pour Fuel Oil and not stolen crude oil as alleged.

It would be recalled that Naval Headquarters issued a Press Release on 4 August 2023 to clarify an allegation in respect of Motor Tanker (MT) PRAISEL which was reported to be conveying stolen crude oil with naval escorts onboard.

According to the statement, the vessel was reported to have been arrested by a private security outfit, Tantita Security Service Limited (TSSL) and an element of Operation DELTA SAFE (OPDS).

A statement subsequently released to Hybrid News by the Nigerian Navy and signed by Commodore A.O Ayo-Vaughan, Director of Information stated that clarification of the report became necessary to put the record straight and avoid the misrepresentation of facts particularly the consignment/cargo of the vessel as at the time of interception by TSSL.

“As mentioned, MT PRAISEL was duly approved by Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to load 1,114,721 Litres of High Pour Fuel Oil (HPFO) from Greenmac Energy Storage/Tarus Jetty Koko from 26 July – 8 August 2023.

“This has repeatedly been substantiated by NMDPRA. However, due to the allegation and suspicion of the vessel’s product to be stolen crude oil, samples of the product were collected on Thursday and Friday 3 & 4 August 2023
by relevant agencies in line with laid procedures for laboratory analysis and verification of the claim.

“As of Saturday 5 August 2023, the results of the laboratory analysis of the product onboard MT PRAISEL by all agencies including NMDPRA indicate that the product displayed properties consistent with Nigerian industrial standard specification for HPFO.

“This result therefore proves that the allegation and suspicion was totally wrong, unfounded, and perhaps mischievous. The intelligence which was said to have been received in respect of the vessel and its product is equally wrong.

“This singular incident brings to the fore the high-handedness and unprofessional conduct displayed, with its attendant negative consequences for the supplier and buyer of the product, the vessel hired to convey it and other parties involved in the legitimate business.

“Accordingly, the Nigerian Navy reiterates her strong stance to support every single effort to halt economic saboteurs and to fight against crude oil theft in Nigeria’s maritime environment (NME) provided such effort is done within the ambit of the law and with the best professional conduct.

“Proper precaution therefore must be adhered to by all stakeholders to avoid unnecessary impediment to legitimate commercial activities and businesses in the maritime environment.

“Maritime security issues entails more than spontaneous actions from insufficient and unverified information because the resultant wrong responses have direct impact on the nation’s economy hence it must be handled dispassionately and professionally.

“In line with Mr President’s directive, the Navy under the able leadership of Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla will ensure transparent and robust inter-Service and inter-agency cooperation and synergy in all her operations.

“All stakeholders and players within the NME are thus advised to adopt the same posture in the overall interest of the nation,” it read.

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