The Nigerian Navy has handed over 11 suspected oil thieves to the Economic and Financial Crime’s Commission for prosecution, an official said Monday.
Navy Captain Noel Madugu, Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base, Brass, said the suspects were on board the vessel “MT Redemption” which was arrested by Nigeria Navy Ship in Badagry.
The commander said that the vessel was subsequently transferred to the Naval Base in Brass.
The naval base is saddled with the responsibility of handling oil theft-related matters where the impounded vessel is currently held.
Mr. Madugu said the vessel was laden with some 100,000 litres of stolen crude which weighed about 1,000 metric tons.
He said the captain of the ship on interrogation, claimed that the content of the tanks and drum was bitumen.
“The Captain of the vessel said that the cargo in the drum was bitumen but what we discovered was petroleum product suspected to be crude oil.
“We subjected the products to laboratory tests on Jan. 20, 2015 at Nigeria Agip Oil Company laboratory and it turned out to be crude oil.
“We have handed the suspects to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution.
“A Senior Detective, Abraham Rege of the EFCC, was here at the handing over ceremony performed on Feb. 23, 2015,” Mr. Madugu said.
He said that MT Redemption belonged to Omar Oil Agency Ltd., a firm based in Tema, Ghana and owned by one Omar Sulleman.
He said that the captain and crew members are all Nigerians.
Mr. Madugu said MT Redemption concealed the products in some external tanks comprising of 5×1000 litres container and 28 drums on the main deck.
He reiterated the command’s zero tolerance for oil theft and warned anyone contemplating disrupting the forthcoming elections to desist or have themselves to be blamed.
The commander also urged the people to give the Navy useful information to clamp down on oil theft and illegal oil bunkering.