Navy arrests Ghanaian vessel suspected to be involved in crude oil theft

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The Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft has arrested a Ghana-registered vessel, Motor Tanker Sweet Miri suspected to be involved in crude oil theft. The vessel was arrested 174 nautical miles of the coast of Nigeria, approximately 320 kilometres, heading to Benin Republic. Base Information Officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft, Lieutenant Hussaini Ibrahim, in a statement, disclosed that the vessel had 13 crew onboard at the time of arrest, 12 Nigerians and one Ghanaian.

The statement quoted the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral MB Hassan, to have said that was carrying about 2 million litres of suspected product without approval. He added that the 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 litres of suspected product without approval.

The statement reads, “The Nigerian Navy Ship BEECROFT under the strategic leadership of Commodore Kolawole Olumide Oguntuga and Maritime Component Commander Operation AWATSE, arrested a vessel, Motor Tanker SWEET MIRI suspected to have been involved in crude oil theft. The vessel had 13 crew, 1 Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians. “While briefing newsmen onboard the vessel, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral MB Hassan stated that the vessel has 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 kilometres, 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 litres 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 Ghanaian and registered in Ghana by a Ghanaian company.

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