A patrol team of the Nigerian Navy Ship(NHS) BEECROFT led by Commodore Kolawole Olumide Oguntuga who also is the Maritime Component Commander Operation AWATSE have arrested a Motor Tanker, SAISNIL II involved in suspected crude oil theft with 11 crew members onboard as at time of arrest.
A press release issued by the Base Information Officer of NNS Beecroft,Lieutenant H Ibrahim disclosed that the ship is a St. Vincent & Grenadines flagged vessel
Speaking with journalists on board the arrested vessel,the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral MB Hassan, stated that the vessel was observed to have turned off its Automatic Identification System (AIS), which is a grievous infraction within the nation’s maritime domain.
According to him ,the activities of vessel would not be easily accounted for when such systems are turned off and such occasions are when illegalities are perpetrated.
Admiral Hassan further stated that the infraction necessitated the deployment of Nigerian Navy Ship SOKOTO, which sailed 199 nautical miles to intercept and return the vessel to Lagos Anchorage.
According to the Flag Officer, SAISNIL II initially sailed from Lagos Anchorage on 23 November 2023 to Taraba Jetty in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to evacuate about 720,000 Liters of Crude Oil Sludge but the manipulation of it AIS around ABO Field for over 48 hours gave rise to a reasonable suspicion of illegalities.
He stated that samples of the product onboard has been taken for analysis at the appropriate laboratory and the outcome of the analysis will determine the next line of action. He further stated that the vessel is opened 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 successful detection leveraging technology and arrest of MT SAISNIL II despite the distance from the coast aligns with key priorities of the Strategic Directives of Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, Chief of the Naval Staff, emphasizing the Navy’s unweaving commitment to eradicating crude oil theft within the nations maritime environment