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Ghanaian, 12 Others Arrested With Vessel Conveying 2m Litres Of Crude To Benin Republic

No fewer than 13 suspects including a Ghanaian have been arrested as the Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft, on Operation Delta Sanity, intercepted a vessel, a motor tanker SWEET MIRI, suspected to be carrying 2 million litres of stolen crude oil to the Benin Republic.

The Nigerian Navy disclosed this on on Saturday evening, March 2, 2024.

While briefing newsmen onboard the vessel, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral MB Hassan stated that the vessel had been a vessel of interest to the Nigerian Navy and she is being arrested on suspicion of crude oil theft.

He added that, on 25 February 2024, the vessel was observed to have switched off its Automatic Identification System to avoid detection. The vessel was arrested 174 nautical miles of the coast of Nigeria, approximately 320 kilometers, heading to Benin Republic.

“This necessitated the deployment of Nigerian Navy Ship ABA to investigate the vessel. Subsequently, she was found carrying products suspected to be crude oil. Thereafter, NNS SOKOTO was deployed to double up the search and interdict the vessel. On arrival, it was discovered that she was carrying about 2 million liters of suspected product without approval.

“The FOC further disclosed that, in line with the directive of Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, the ship is opened for other agencies to come and take samples and carry out their own independent investigations to find out the culpability of the vessel.

“Also speaking, the FOC said that, the vessel is owned by a Ghanian and registered in Ghana by a Ghanian company.

“In the same vein, while giving update on the earlier arrested Motor Tanker VINNALARIS, the FOC said that, the CNS has instructed that the investigations of all arrested vessels should be conducted beyond the level of crew. In this regard, the FOC has extended the investigation to uncover the kingpins.

He finally appreciated the efforts of DSS for assisting the Nigerian Navy in conducting investigations when matters of crude oil theft are brought to them,” the release by Lieutenant Hussaini Ibrahim, the Base Information Officer, read.