Tuesday, October 6, 2015 11:40 pm
Troops of the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder, Port Harcourt have impounded a 3,000-metric tonne ship allegedly standing by to steal crude oil from pipelines in Rivers.
The Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, Rear Adm. Atiku Abdulkadir, announced the arrest to newsmen on Tuesday in Dust Island, Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers.
Abdulkadir said the ship code named MT Everest was impounded on Oct. 2 with 12 of its crew members who had neither certificate nor approval to operate in the area.
“The boat was seen here with its hoses connected to their cargo tank which indicated readiness to conduct some illegalities.
“Though the ship had no content as of the time it was accosted by our personnel, it was getting ready to load product.
“None of the crew members had any certificate and competency to justify them serving aboard the merchant tanker ship,” he said.
Abdulkadir, on tour of navy formations and units in Rivers, said that preliminary investigation had already begun to unravel why “a ship as big as MT Everest should be in the channel without license”.
He said that after investigation had been concluded, the suspects would be handed over to officials of the Federal Ministry of Justice to commence prosecution.
“We are confident with the commitment shown by the Federal Government and the judiciary to expedite justice on cases of crude oil theft,’’ he said.
Abdulkadir said that the deployment of navy troop at “Choke points” and its 24-hour patrol and community-based intelligence gathering would reduce attacks on oil and gas installations.
The flag officer urged the public to continue to assist the navy and other security agencies with information on illegal bunkering.