Oil Theft: Govt agencies connive with culprits – Experts

illegal crude oil refining, Nigeria's grim reality25 October 2013, Lagos – As the menace of oil theft continues to bedevil the Nigerian economy, government agencies connivance has been fingered in the act by experts.

The experts, who are master mariners with long-standing experience in ship navigation and crude oil cargo operation, said it was baffling to hear of oil theft without any link to relevant agencies of government, as such agencies were always at every crude oil loading terminal.

They queried the possibility of the ability of certain criminal-minded persons to load crude oil unto a vessel at any other place other than the terminals.

The revered maritime experts posit that government must begin to look closely at its agencies at the various crude loading terminals, as their connivance could not be ruled out from incidents of oil theft, saying that crude oil could not be stolen elsewhere except the terminals.

Capt Francis Kponu, who headed Shell’s crude loading at the company’s Bonny Terminal for nearly two decades said, “Sincerely, it baffles me to hear about theft of crude oil, because I wonder how possible it could be for some people to steal the product at a terminal where you have a number of government agencies, who must have input by one document or the other, in the product being loaded and give certifications on the product.

“Again, one wonders if it has become possible now for people to load crude oil unto a vessel elsewhere other than the terminals. It is really baffling that we hear these days of smaller vessels being used to steal crude.

– Leadership

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