EFCC takes possession of illegal oil bunkering vessel

18 May 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken over from the Nigeria Navy a suspected illegal oil bunkering vessel arrested in January by the Navy.

EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on Thursday that the vessel bearing one million litres of suspected Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) or diesel had no relevant documents, going by preliminary investigations.

The statement said: “The vessel, MT Takoradi, bearing one million litres of suspected Automotive Gas Oil, and 11 crew members were handed over to the Commission at a brief ceremony at NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos by the Commanding Officer, Navy Commodore, M. J. O. Njoku.

“The vessel and its cargo, together with the crew were received on behalf of the EFCC by the Head, General Investigation and Counter Terrorism section of the Commission’s Lagos zonal office, Mr. Aminu Aliyu. The crew include Captain, Musa Mohammed and the Chief Engineer, Freeborn Otuagoma.

“Commodore Njoku explained that the vessel was arrested by men of the Nigerian Navy aboard the NNS Thunder on routine patrol on January 26.

Njoku added: “On the 26th of January, 2012, MT Takoradi was accosted by Nigerian Navy ship Thunder on patrol. Investigations revealed that the Vessel was carrying about one million litres of AGO without Nigerian Navy clearance. Consequently, the Vessel was arrested.

“In view of the foregoing, I am directed to hand over the vessel, 11 member crew and the cargo about 1 million litres of AG0 to your organisation for investigation and prosecution.”

He promised that the Navy would secure the vessel pending the outcome of investigation and probably the release of the Vessel.

“From preliminary naval investigations, the arrested vessel lacked relevant documents. The captain of the ship, Musa Mohammed said the vessel belongs to Star Wind Management Company, Trikompi , Greece , and the ship broker is NEPS Nigeria limited, Lagos .

He said the vessel was initially manned by Greeks and was handed over to his crew on the 10th of December, 2011 at the Lagos Anchorage.

The vessel, he said, sailed on the 21st January,2012 to Pennington at the request of Solution Mark Nigeria limited, which is the owner, ostensibly to rescue a sister barge in distress, MT Lord.

However, naval investigation indicated that MT Lord was never in distress.

Aliyu assured that the case would be thoroughly investigated by the EFCC and collected samples of the cargo for analysis.

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