Naval operatives aboard the Nigerian Navy Ship BEECROFT( NNS BEECROFT) under the leadership of Commodore Kolawole Olumide Oguntuga, who is also the Maritime Component Commander, Operation AWATSE, have arrested a vessel , MT SWEET MIRI that was suspected in engaging in illegal maritime activities, by the theft of crude oil.

Aboard the vessel that was arrested was a 13 man crew, made up of 1 Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians.

The vessel on 25th February 2024, was observed to have switched off its Automatic Identification System to avoid detection where it was 174 nautical miles of the coast of Nigeria, approximately 320 kilometers, heading to Benin Republic. This aroused the suspicion of the NNS BEECROFT, that led to the deployment of Nigerian Navy Ship( NNS) ABA to investigate the vessel.

After a thorough search of the vessel, products suspected to be crude oil was found on board.

The Nigerian Navy Ship( NNS) SOKOTO was deployed to double up the search and interdict the vessel.

About 2 million liters of product suspected to be crude, were onboard without the requisite approval.

Speaking to newsmen, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral MB Hassan disclosed the information and also in line with the directive of Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, the ship, MT SWEET MIRI, is hereby open for other agencies to come and take samples and carry out their own independent investigations to find out the culpability of the vessel.
Also speaking, the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command revealed that the vessel, is owned by a Ghanian and registered in Ghana by a Ghanian company.

In the same vein, while giving update on the earlier arrested Motor Tanker VINNALARIS, the FOC said that, the Chief Of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, has ordered that investigation of all arrested vessels should be conducted beyond the level of the crew.

In this regard, the Flag Officer Commannding Western Naval Command, has extended the investigation to uncover the kingpins behind the illegal activities.
He also appreciated the efforts of Department Of State Security ( The DSS) for assisting the Nigerian Navy in conducting investigations when matters of crude oil theft are brought to them.

The Nigerian Navy, under Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, continues to strengthen the nation’s maritime economic activities while safe guarding Nigeria’s territorial waters against piracy, bunkering and other economic sabotaging activities in the maritime space.

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