In furtherance of its fight against crude oil theft, operatives of Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, have arrested a Motor Vessel Tanker, SAISNIL 11 for reportedly engaging in maritime illegality on our waters.
To vessel was flagged for turning off its
Automatic Identification System (AIS) for 48 hours, which is an infraction within the nation’s maritime domain, to aid it perpetuate crime unhindered.
Commander Commodore Kolawole Olumide Oguntuga who also is the Maritime Component Commander Operation AWATSE , had deployed Nigeria Navy Ship SOKOTO, which sailed 199 nautical miles to intercept the vessel and moved it to Lagos Anchorage.
The vessel, flagged St. Vincent & Grenadines had 11 crew onboard as at the time of arrest.
Speaking with journalists onboard the vessel, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral MB Hassan, stated that the vessel was observed to have turned off its AIS.
Stressing that it was an infraction within the nation’s maritime domain, he said by doing so, activities of the vessel would not be determined when such systems are turned off and such occasions are when illegalities are perpetrated.
He further stated that the information necessitated the deployment of Nigeria Navy Ship SOKOTO, which sailed 199 nautical miles to intercept the vessel and moved to Lagos Anchorage.
He said: “SAISNIL II sailed from Lagos to Port Harcourt to evacuate about 720,000 Liters of Crude Oil Sludge but the manipulation of its AIS around ABO field for 48 hours gave rise to a reasonable suspicion of illegalities.
” He stated that samples of the product onboard has been taken for analysis and the outcome of the analysis will determine the next line of action.
” He further stated that the vessel is open to any agency that wants to get samples onboard for analysis to confirm the product onboard.”
According to him, this became necessary as the Nigerian Navy remains resolute in ensuring transparency towards ensuring holistic maritime security .
The FOC West said the successful detection leveraging technology and arrest of MT SAISNIL II despite the distance aligns with key priorities of the Strategic Directives of Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, Chief of the Naval Staff.
This he said emphasises the Navy’s unwavering commitment to eradicating crude oil theft within the nations maritime environment for economic prosperity of our dear nation