By SAMUEL OYADONGHA
YENAGOA — The Central Naval Command, yesterday, announced the seizure of an oil vessel, MT Frankesen, and arrest of 12 persons over alleged theft of crude oil along the Akassa waterways in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Three of the suspects were identified as Ghanaians, while the others were Nigerians. The seized vessel, according to the Navy, is owned by a Port Harcourt-based businessman.
Parading the suspects before newsmen in Brass on Saturday, the Flag Officer Commanding, FOC, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sidi-Ali Usman, said though the vessel’s movement log showed evidences of previous voyages to Ghana, the arrest of the vessel and the crew was carried out by Naval operatives attached to the Forward Operating Base of the Navy, FORMOSO.
He said: “The vessel was loaded with products suspected to be stolen crude oil from Akassa in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
“The crew of the vessel consists of nine Nigerians and three Ghanaians.
“On interrogation, the Captain, Adeyemi Akinleye, confessed on video that they were instructed by the owner of the vessel (names withheld), residing in Port Harcourt, to load stolen crude oil from two barges around Akassa and proceed to Tema in Ghana, where the product would be disposed off.
“The captain revealed that a local pilot was used to navigate the vessel into Nun River, while one Mr. Destiny was the agent that supplied the product.”