The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Thursday announced the lifting of the embargo earlier placed on some 113 vessels, barring them from engaging in crude oil and gas loading activities in any of the crude oil terminals within Nigerian territorial waters.
The NNPC explained that the decision to lift the ban was subject to the receipt of Letters of Comfort, LOC, from all terminal operators, oil companies and off-takers of the Nigeria’s oil and gas as guarantee that nominated vessels were unencumbered or not to be utilized for any illegal activity whatsoever, pending the outcome of detailed investigation.
In view of the above decision, the corporation said the Federal Government had approved the establishment of an Inter-Agency Committee with a mandate to collect data and investigate the activities of the banned vessels within Nigerian territorial waters.
Inter-agency Committee is made up of the Department of State Services, DSS; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA; Nigerian Navy; Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and the NNPC.
Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ohi Alegbe, said the committee would appraise the culpability or otherwise of each of the vessels in the time past and advise government appropriately on the next line of action.
In July, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the ban of 113 vessels from lifting Nigerian crude oil as part of government’s effort to sanitize the Nigerian oil industry, which is plagued by corruption, crude theft and massive fraud.
The presidential directive had asked the NNPC to bar the 113 vessels from lifting Nigeria crude oil from 27 designated oil terminals.
The list of affected companies included 27 terminals from which the vessels were prohibited to lift Nigerian crude.
The terminals included Forcados, Bonny, Bonga, Sea Eagle, Qua lboe, Erha, Yoho, Usan, Bonny River Terminal, Escravos, Agbami, Pennington, Escravos LPG FSO, Escravos Gas Terminal, Antan, Okwori, Odudu, Akpo, Brass, Abo, Okono, Oyo, lma, Okoro, Ukpokiti, Tulja, and Ebok.
The affected vessels were implicated in a pattern of fraud that resulted in Nigerians losing billions of Naira to fraudulent activities.
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