By Henry Oladele
A vessel said to be carrying 300 metric tonnes of illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (AGO) has been intercepted by the Nigerian Navy while seven members of the crew have been arrested.
Briefing journalists on Friday in Lagos, the Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, Commodore Maurice Eno, said the vessel, MT WOLOF, and its crew were arrested on June 30 around the Lagos Safe Anchorage Area.
Eno said that the navy had handed over the suspects and vessel to the Economic Financial and Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation and possible prosecution.
“On June 30, NNS BEECROFT patrol team intercepted and arrested MT WOLOF around the Lagos Safe Anchorage Area (LSAA).
“At the time of the arrest, MT WOLOF was loaded with about 300 metric tonnes of product suspected to be illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (AGO) and had seven crew members on board.
“Investigation revealed that the vessel had no document to support the product it was carrying,” he said.
Eno said that the sample of the product on board the vessel was taken for laboratory test and the result indicated that the product did not meet the Department of Petroleum Resources specification.
“The result also did not meet the Standard Organisation of Nigeria specification.
“In view of this, the vessel has been handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he said.
Eno reiterated that the navy in its renewed efforts to curb illegalities in the maritime domain would not tolerate any fraudulent activity.
“The Nigerian Navy under the leadership of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ibas has zero-tolerance for illegalities in the Nigerian waters.
“The Navy therefore reiterates its drive to safeguard Nigeria’s maritime domain from criminal elements.
“I advise defaulters to desist from such act or face the wrath of the law and also urge citizens to give useful information with regards to persons engaged in illegal acts to the navy or other security agencies,’’ Eno said. (NAN)