By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA—THE Nigerian Navy, weekend, confirmed the arrest of 25 persons and seizure of two vessels suspected to have been involved in illegal bunkering and crude oil theft on Brass waterways in Bayelsa State.
According to the Navy, the two seized vessels identified as MV Hanan and MV Alezza Lilah had 14 Nigerians, one Ghanaian and a Cameroonian on board with more than 300,000 metric tonnes of suspected stolen crude oil.
The duo of the Navy Commanding Officer, FOB FORMOSO, Captain Noel Madugu and Assistant Commandant, NSCDC, Anyanwu George, in a statement, during the handing over ceremony, said the MV Hanan had nine crew members on board, all Nigerians, while MV Alezza Lilah had 16 crewmember s comprising 14 Nigerians, one Ghanaian and one Cameroonian.
Navy Capt. Madugu said ,”the MV Alezza Lilah was intercepted by NNS Obula at 23 nautical miles, South West of Pennington when her actions became suspicious. The vessel with her crew of nine persons was arrested owing to the presence of Automotive Gas Oil on board.”
He said the vessel had six tanks fully loaded with AGO, but had no bunkering approval on board as of the time of arrest, adding, “The crew claimed the approval, other documents and other valuables were taken from the vessel by sea pirates when they were attacked. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the vessel was operating on behalf of Danyomile Marine Services Limited of Suite 1, LSDPC Shopping Complex, Agege, Lagos State.”
The document claims MV Alezza Lilah was granted approval to load 70 metric tonnes of AGO from Petrostar Nigeria Limited storage tank in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, vide NHQ111744. However, when questioned, the captain of the vessel Bewaji Olayinka said he loaded about 100 metric tonnes of AGO on board.