The Nigerian Navy says it has nabbed 10 suspected oil thieves onboard MT TECNE Vessel in Delta.
The Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS), Delta, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, disclosed this while parading the suspects at Focados River, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta on Wednesday.
The suspects are one Nigerian, two Pakistanis, three Ghanaians, one Indonesian, one Béninois and two Ukrainians.
Dewu said that the suspects were caught in the early hours of Tuesday while siphoning crude oil into the vessel from Afremo A platform, a loading jacket belonging to the Shell Petroleum and Development Company (SPDC) in Forcados River.
According to him, they had siphoned about 2000 metric tonnes of crude oil from the loading jacket before they were caught.
“Based on intelligence report, at about 02:50am on April 25, 2017, MT Tecne (registered in Panama), was apprehended by NNS Delta patrol team with 10 crew onboard.
“They are one Nigerian, two Pakistanis, three Ghanaians, one Indonesian, one Béninois and two Ukrainians, the Nigerian among them is the Chief Officer while the Captain is a Pakistani.
” This vessel has been around our water, what they do is that they go into the high sea during the day, they come late night and connect to the Jacket and siphon crude oil.
“We have been trailing them for three days, this is the forth night and the vessel is fully ladened with illegal crude oil and this is what they keep doing,” he said.
The Commander said that the feat was the outcome of the ongoing “Operation Delta Safe Operation River Sweep Two and Operation Tsare Teku” mandates of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS).
He said that the navy would continue to check illegalities in the nation`s maritime domain.
He advised oil companies owning loading jackets to keep constant watch on their platforms.
“Most of the oil companies have service boats, so they should make it a point of duty to keep watching these jacket both day and night,” he said.
Dewu said that the suspects and the vessel would be handed over to the prosecuting agency after investigations.
One of the suspects, a Nigerian, said he joined the TECNE company in 2016 adding that he was directed by one Mr Victor to load crude oil from the jacket.
The captain of the Ship, said he was not aware that their action was illegal.
“We came to load here, I don’t know it is unofficial, I don’t know it is illegal bunkering, we load at night for three days. This is my first time,” he said.