The Nigerian Navy on Thursday handed over an arrested vessel, MT TAKORADI, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Handing over the vessel in Lagos, the Commanding Officer, NNS Beecroft, Martins Njoku, said that it was intercepted by NNS THUNDER while on patrol at sea on January 26.
He said that MT TAKORADI, which had 11 people on board, was arrested carrying about one million litres of diesel without the clearance of the Nigerian Navy.
According to him, the vessel was handed over to NNS Beecroft at the Lagos Anchorage and six armed personnel were put on board immediately to ensure its safety.
Mr. Njoku said that preliminary investigation showed that the vessel was initially handled by Greeks and was handed over to Nigerian crew on December 10, 2011 at the Lagos anchorage.
According to him, investigations also revealed that it remained at the anchorage until January 21 from where it was sailed by the charterer, NEPS NIG LTD., to Pennington.
He said that the vessel was alleged to have sailed to rescue a sister barge (MT LORD BARGR), which was in distress at 58 nautical miles between Pennington and Brass.
“The charterer claimed to have applied for Nigerian Navy clearance at the Directorate of Marine Services but was rejected as a result of incomplete documents and was said to be in the process of reapplying,” he said.
According to him, NEPS NIG LTD failed to tender relevant documents to prove their claims and thereby contravening the Federal Government order to obtain clearance from Nigerian Navy to bunker.
Receiving the 11 member crew, the Head, Counter Terrorism and General Investigation, EFCC, Aminu Aliyu, pledged his commitment to investigate and carry out the necessary actions.
Jarrett Tenebe, Chairman, Fenix Imprex Nig. Ltd., a company charged with the evacuation of arrested vessels, told journalists that his company is ready to evacuate the vessel if proven guilty.
“This act of evacuation is in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to clearing the nation’s waterways of illegal acts and piracy,” he said.