Cdr. Shehu Tasiu, Base Operation Officer, Warri Naval Base handed over the suspects to the police. ACP. Shawulu Dan-Mamman of the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) received the suspects and inspected the MT CAMILLE vessel currently under the custody of the Navy in Warri.
Tasiu said that the naval personnel intercepted the vessels and its crew on November 14, 2015 during routine patrol on Forcados Offshore, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta.
He further said the vessel was laden with about 4,000 metric tonnes of product suspected to be crude oil.
“The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) OBULA on Nov. 14, 2015 while on routine patrol sighted MT CAMILLE fully loaded and positioned at Forcados offshore.
“The captain of the vessel was subsequently interrogated to ascertain if he had valid documents for the cargo but could not produce any.
“Consequently, the vessel was boarded and arrested with 11 crew members and towed to the Base for further investigation.
“However, investigation revealed that the vessel is carrying a Mongolian Flag registered at Port ULAANBAATA with IMO number 7323463,” he said.
According to him, the previous names of the vessel were LAURENTUS (1988), MIRAGE (1988-2003), BARONES (2003-2006), MELVIN (2006) before its current name CAMILLE.
“The registered owner of the vessel is Rocky Energy Limited while its operator is Nsutech Oil Services Limited.
“In view of the foregoing, I am directed to handover the 11 crew members of the vessel to the IGP for further investigation and possible prosecution. The Nigerian Navy request that the suspects be properly profiled for future reference and that you should furnish the Naval Headquarters with the outcome of your investigation,” he said.
The commander restated the Nigerian Navy’s commitment to assist the police in curbing crime in the society.
The suspects and the vessel were earlier paraded at the naval base on Nov. 27 before the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Central Naval Command, Yenagoa, Rear Adm. Apochi Suleiman.
Suleiman described the arrest as a major breakthrough in the war against oil theft and other criminal activities in the waterways.
The naval chief, therefore, warned perpetrators of oil theft to desist from it, saying “it is an economic sabotage.
Dan-Mamman gave assurance that the Nigeria Police would continue to partner with the Navy in prosecuting vandals.
“We are aware of government’s resolve to fight oil theft, we shall get to the root of this case and ensure that appropriate punishment is meted out to the suspects,” Dan-Mamman said.
By Pita Ochai