Curbing Crude Oil Theft
In a decisive move to combat crude oil theft, the Nigerian Navy has successfully apprehended the MT VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS vessel, catching it red-handed engaging in illegal siphoning of crude oil from the EBESAN oil field. The vessel, equipped with a storage capacity of approximately 15,000 metric tonnes, had 17 Nigerian crew members on board at the time of its arrest.
Swift Response to Credible Intelligence
The arrest was a result of credible intelligence received by the Navy regarding the illicit activities of crude oil thieves in the vicinity. Acting promptly on this information, the Forward Operating Base (FOB) IGBOKODA deployed personnel to address the situation swiftly. The vessel was intercepted about 7 nautical miles off the coast of Awoye riverine community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo state.
Rear Admiral Ayo-Vaughan, spokesperson for the Navy, reported that upon approach, two boats attached to the vessel attempted to flee upon sighting naval personnel, confirming the vessel’s involvement in illegal activities.
Illegal Siphoning of Crude Oil Uncovered
Upon inspection at the scene, it was revealed that the MT VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS vessel was actively siphoning crude oil from both sides of the wellhead. The vessel, having a storage capacity of 15,000 metric tonnes, had loaded approximately 500 metric tonnes of crude oil at the time of its apprehension.
Ayo-Vaughan emphasized the significance of this operation, stating that the arrest demonstrates the Nigerian Navy’s unwavering commitment to curbing crude oil theft and other illegal activities within the country’s maritime domain.
Warning and Resolve
The Navy spokesperson issued a stern warning, affirming the use of all legitimate means at the Navy’s disposal to track and apprehend perpetrators of illegalities in Nigeria’s maritime environment. The commitment to protecting Nigeria’s maritime environment for national economic development and prosperity remains a constitutional mandate that the Navy vows to uphold.
Allegations and Navy’s Response
Ayo-Vaughan addressed allegations involving Tantita Security Service (TSS), stating that it is believed TSS may be involved in illegalities in the Awoye riverine area. He dismissed false alarms raised by TSS upon the vessel’s arrest, labeling them as unfounded and mischievous.
Despite such allegations, the Nigerian Navy remains steadfast in pursuing its constitutional mandate, ensuring the protection of Nigeria’s maritime environment. The call for cooperation from patriotic citizens to report any form of criminality, especially in coastal communities, was reiterated by Ayo-Vaughan.
In conclusion, the swift and effective response of the Nigerian Navy in apprehending the MT VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS vessel sends a clear message about the country’s determination to combat illegal activities in its maritime domain. As the investigation unfolds and legal actions are taken, the Navy’s commitment to safeguarding national interests remains paramount. This operation marks a significant step towards a more secure and lawful maritime environment in Nigeria.