Nigerian, Cameroonian navies intercept vessel laden with 30,000 litres of stolen crude

The suspects arrested in the intercepted vessel by the Navy

By Christian Njoku

A vessel laden with 30,000 litres of crude oil suspected to have been stolen from Nigeria has been intercepted in a
joint operation by the operatives of the Nigerian Navy and their Cameroonian counterparts.

“Thirty thousand litres of crude oil is a huge volume. It can fetch N40 million at the international crude oil market,’’ Commodore Rotimi Oderemi, Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship, NNS Victory, told journalists this on Saturday at the inspection of the vessel at Ibaka in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.

He said the vessel, MV Jasmine, was first spotted within Nigerian territorial waters following credible intelligence and collaboration with the Eastern Naval Command Centre,

He explained that a Nigerian Navy patrol boat, NNS Ekulu was detailed to intercept the suspected vessel and interrogate the crew.

“Upon noticing NNS Ekulu, the suspected vessel proceeded to the international waters between Nigeria and Cameroon, just as NNS Ekulu was in its hot pursuit.

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“Resulting from our collaboration and with the support of the Cameroonian Navy, the vessel was intercepted and brought to Ibaka with eight Nigerians on board.

Oderemi said the interception of the vessel and the arrest of its crew members should serve as warning to intending criminals in Nigeria’s waters that the Navy was prepared to foil their activities.

In his remarks, captain of the intercepted vessel, Mr Pere-Ebiye Abraham, claimed its ownership and said he went into illegal bunkering because of hardship.

He said he got the crude oil around Babangida Platform on the high seas and he was moving it to their illegal refinery in creeks when he was intercepted

He said he was using the vessel to ferry planks from Nembe Waterside in Rivers but the business dwindled and he had to switch to illegal bunkering.

“I started this business this year and this is the second time I am moving crude of about 30,000 litres and was arrested by the Navy.

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