The suspects made up of 18 Nigerians, one Camerounian and one Ghanaian were allegedly arrested while loading their vessel MV ELMINA with stolen crude at Nigerian Agip Oil Company trunk line at Brass, Bayelsa State.
They were arrested on August 7, 2014 around 1.30am by Naval operatives patrolling the area.
The suspects and the vessel have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution. The handing over of the suspects took place on Wednesday at the command’s Forward Operating Base, Formoso, Brass, Bayelsa State.
Commanding Officer, FOB Formoso, Capt. Noel Madugu, said the suspects were arrested at Sangana river in Brass Local Government Area of the state.
Madugu gave the names of suspects as Lucky Osiebe, captain; Adakole Onmoniji, Chief engineer; Monday Esemutoye; Tonwoye College; Collins Ograko; Odaba Divine; Dutie Ezetu; Frederick Onwoievbe; Bonley Atangeho and Dover Abruda.
Others, according to Madugu, are Joe Richard, Campala Lewis, Efe Godday, Aaron Amohefe, Reuben Dabbi, Joseph Koey, Ponmile Gideon, Wafo Marcel, Dominion Agbo and Akinbolu David.
He said during the time of arrest, the captain of the ship could not provide the relevant documents to lift crude oil.
Madugu also said the suspects declared they were loading Automated Gas Oil (diesel), but when the products were tested, it was discovered to be crude oil.
Madugu, who paraded the suspects before handing them over to the officials of the EFCC, Port Harcourt office, noted that the culprits were arrested around 1.30am on August 7, 2014.
The commanding officer said, “About 1.30am, August 7, 2014, MV ELMINA was intercepted coming out of the creeks of Sangana River entrance in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
“The vessel and her crew were intercepted by NNS BOMADI while on routine patrol of the area.
“Upon arrest, the actions of the crew during interrogation indicated that they had carried out the dubious activity as they refused initially to answer their radio until several warning shots.”
Madugu said the ship was however boarded and discovered that it was loaded with crude oil.
He said as of the time of interception, the ship had not been sounded to verify the exact amount of cargoes.
He said the vessel was safely escorted and anchored at Brass river where she was detained for further interrogation.
Madugu said the handover of the suspects were in compliance with the directive of the Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Peter Agba.