The Nigeria Navy Ship, NNS Pathfinder says it has impounded a vessel, MT Vie Land, suspected to be carrying stolen crude oil.
Capt. Chukwuemeka Okafor, the Commanding Officer, Nigeria Navy Forward Operating Base, Bonny, said in Port Harcourt on Tuesday that the vessel (MT Vie Land) was intercepted in Bonny, Rivers.
He said the impounded vessel had 10 crew men, all Nigerians, on board, and that it was arrested on Friday, May 3.
“It was arrested by Nigerian Navy Ship, Burutu, while she was on routine patrol around Bonny Fair Way Buoy; she intercepted this vessel and accosted her.
“She (MT Vie Land) could not give any explanation as to the product she was carrying and so she (Burutu) had to bring her down here and handed the vessel over to NNS FOB (Forward Operating Base) Bonny.’’
Okafor said preliminary investigation showed that the impounded vessel was carrying 1,300 tonnes of stolen crude.
The commanding officer said the vessel would be handed over to the appropriate authority for further investigation and possible prosecution.
He also said the Nigeria Navy was well-equipped now to fight illegal oil bunkering.
He said: “The Federal Government is determined to put a stop to illegalities in the maritime environment and the Nigerian Navy is fully out to accomplish that.
“We are better equipped now; we are better motivated and we have layers of patrols that they cannot escape.
“They escape one layer, they will be caught in the next layer.’’
Okafor said patrols had been intensified such that vessels carrying stolen crude might find it difficult to evade interception.