Oil Theft: Nigerian Navy Arrests Two More ‘Rogue’ Ships In Niger Delta
Navy spokesman, Commodore Kayode Vaughan told newsmen in Abuja yesterday that the two oil vessels, MT Vivit Arabia and MT Trinity Arrow were caught attempting to load liquefied natural gas [LNG] without authorization.
Vaughan, who is the director of information and public relations of the Nigerian Navy, said the two vessels were intercepted while in queue for loading, yet without necessary clearance.
The spokesman said MT Trinity Arrow, was apprehended on July 11, 2022, while MT Vivit Arabia was intercepted on July 12, 2022, at the Bonny Terminal. The “two vessels mentioned by the chief of naval staff [CNS] attempted to load gas in Bonny terminal without authorization.
“The other vessel, MT Trinity Arrow attempted to load in Bonny but was intercepted. The tankers are not on the list of vessels to load gas. They were there without consent and authorization,” he added.
The revelations over the two ‘rogue’ ships come on the heels of the tales of how the Nigerian Navy escorted the controversial MT HEROIC IDUN, back to Nigeria after it was handed over to the Nigerian authorities by the government of Equatorial Guinea.
However, the 16 Indian sailors, who are part of a multinational crew of 26 sailors in the vessel MT HEROIC IDUN, detained by Equatorial Guinea’s Navy for three months, have appealed to the Indian government to help them return home.
But the Nigerian Navy said it was aware of “international media campaigns being planned and executed and sponsored by the vessel’s owners/agents, in a bid to muddy the waters and to make false claims of human rights violations against the Nigerian government.”
The Nigerian Navy had, in a fact sheet issued to the media, outlined potential charges to be preferred against owners of MT Heroic Idun and crew members.
They include: “Entering the restricted zone around an oil field without authorization; Illegally attempting to load crude oil from Nigeria without appropriate documentation, which is tantamount to economic sabotage; falsely accusing a Nigerian Navy Ship of piracy on international maritime reporting platforms.
The Nigerian Navy said its operatives had had communicated with the naval ship, and there was therefore no ambiguity about the identity of the NN Ship.
On the implications of the false piracy claim against Nigeria by MT Heroin Idun is capable of denting the international image of Nigeria, and also making nonsense of the gains recorded by the country’s security agencies in the maritime sector.
“It is on record that Nigeria has not recorded a pirate attack in her maritime environment over the last year (since 2021). Note that Nigeria was also struck off the list of piracy-prone countries by the International Maritime Bureau in March 2022.
This would indeed send a strong message to any collaborators involved in crude oil theft in Nigeria, and the international community at large.
“It is important for the Nigerian Government to sustain its anti-crude oil theft efforts/operations for the prosperity of Nigeria as well as national security objectives,” the Navy explained.
The Navy maintained that “it is thus necessary to resist any pressure from internal or international collaborators in the matters of crude oil theft or any matters allied. The government of the citizens of the sailors onboard the vessel – India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Poland – would do the same.
“It is important to stress that Nigeria has followed due process in its handling of this entire incident, and will continue to abide by the principles of due process and fair and transparent investigations”.