Nigerian Navy
Nigerian Navy

Motor Tanker Sweet Miri nabbed for crude oil theft, says NN

The Nigerian Navy’s OPERATION DELTA SANITY has recorded a major milestone with the arrest of 13 crew members syndicate (One Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians) on board a Ghanaian owned/ registered vessel known as Motor Tanker (MT) SWEET MIRI with crude oil,

Naval spokesperson Rear Admiral AO Ayo -Vaughan who disclosed this on Monday said the vessel was carrying about 2 million litres of product suspected to be crude oil without any form of approval from relevant authorities at the time of arrest.

The suspected oil thieves were arrested
on 25 February 2024 at about 174 nm (approximately 320km) off Nigeria’s coast heading towards Benin Republic, after the vessel was observed to have switched off her Automatic Identification System (AIS) in a bid to evade detection.

He said the economic saboteurs are bent on stealing the nation’s natural resources .

The infraction by the vessel contravene the International Ships and Port Security Code (ISPS) and she was tagged a “Vessel of Interest” (VoI) by the NN.

The NN Maritime Domain Awareness infrastructure observed the criminal intent of the vessel and subsequently vectored 2 NN ships on patrol to interrogate the vessel and it was discovered that MT SWEET MIRI was involved in illegalities and the vessel was subsequently arrested.

Curiously, the suspicious disposition of the vessel necessitated the swift deployment of Nigerian Navy Ship ABA and Nigerian Navy Ship SOKOTO to intercept the vessel.

Notably, upon arrest, MT SWEET MIRI was found carrying about 2 million litres of product suspected to be crude oil without any form of approval from relevant authorities, he said.

He said that in line with the directive of Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, for an in-depth and independent investigation, relevant approving/prosecuting agencies have been notified for samples collection and in order to further ascertain the culpability or otherwise of the vessel. This is necessary to unmask the enemies of the Nation and to institute holistic and detailed investigations.

The NN said that it’s reinvigorated Operation DELTA SANITY will continue to collaborate with relevant maritime, security and law enforcement agencies in order to closely monitor, evaluate and interdict where infractions are suspected so as to bring economic saboteurs to book in line with relevant extant laws of the land.