5th October, 2012
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it has unsealed Integrated Oil and Gas petroleum products tank facility whose operations were suspended by the agency last week due to its involvement with a cartel that hijacked vessels and steal of petroleum products along the country’s coastal waters.
Director and Head of Corporate Affairs, Lami Tumaka stated that the agency’s management resolved to open the storage facility after the conclusion of preliminary investigations by NIMASA and security operatives.
According to Tumaka, the company was sealed off by the agency in connection with the hijack of a panama flagged tanker vessel, MT Anuket Emerald.
She said that the tanker vessel was hijacked offshore Togo waters where hijackers are alleged to have trans-shipped over 3,000 metric tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil into another tanker vessel, MT Grace.
The agency had traced the alleged stolen quantity of AGO to the Integrated Oil and Gas storage facility necessitating its seal off and arrest of the former Minister of the Interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, who is the chairman of the company.
Tumaka however said that ‘tank seven’ of the tank farm would remain sealed pending the conclusion of investigations by the agency and other law enforcement operatives.
The alleged stolen products were traced to tank seven of the tank farm where MT Grace and its operators had discharged the products for onward commercial sale.
According to her, following further investigations by the agency and security operatives, two persons in connection with the operations of MT Grace are to be referred to the police who will declare them wanted and continue with investigations.