A motor tanker, MT VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS, measuring 77 meters in length, was apprehended by the Nigerian Navy on Thursday at its Forward Operating Base, FOB, IGBOKODA, in Ondo State, for alleged crude oil theft.

This is stated in a statement that was issued in Abuja by Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the Director of Naval Information.

Approximately seven nautical miles off the shore of Awoye riverine hamlet in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, the vessel with seventeen crew members on board was apprehended by authorities for illicitly removing crude oil from one of the well heads at the EBESAN oil field, according to Ayo-Vaughan.

He explained that the fast deployment of FOB IGBOKODA soldiers to apprehend the ship and her crew was prompted by genuine intelligence the Base had received regarding the illicit activities of crude oil thieves at the location.

It should be noted that when the anti-Crude Oil Theft Patrol Team from FOB IGBOKODA approached MT VINNALARIS 1 in Lagos, the two boats connected to the vessel sped away upon seeing the navy officers, confirming that the vessel was engaged in unlawful activity.

Upon arriving at the scene, it was found that the vessel was actively extracting crude oil from both sides of the well head.

“Therefore, after additional investigation and questioning, it was found out that the ship was carrying 17 Nigerian nationals,” he stated.

The ship could hold up to 15,000 metric tons of cargo, according to Ayo-Vaughan, and it was carrying around 500 metric tons of crude oil when it was apprehended.

He claims that the seizure of the MT VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS demonstrates the will of the Nigerian Navy to combat illicit shipping practices and the theft of crude oil.

He issued a stern warning, saying that the Nigerian navy would pursue and apprehend those responsible for maritime crimes using any and all lawful methods available to them.

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