The captain of MV DALAL has confessed that he lifted 120,000 litres of Automated Gas Oil (diesel) from illegal refineries at the Akassa creeks in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa State. Our correspondent gathered that the captain made the confession after his vessel was arrested by the operatives of the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, FORMOSO.
The Command Operations Officer, Central Naval Command, Commodore Emmanuel Enemor, told our correspondent in Yenagoa on Saturday that the captain confessed to the crime on video. He said operatives of the Navy intercepted the vessel while on patrol off the coast of Brass following suspicions that the ship had on board illegally refined AGO. He said the vessel was operated under a registered name and licence of Solabaster Oil and Gas Limited located at 5, Bombay Crescent, Apapa, Lagos.
Enemor said, ‚ÄúThe vessel was a fishing trawler now converted to motor tanker for the purpose of illegal bunkering. ‚ÄúAt the time of the arrest, the vessel did not have Nigerian Ports Authority bunkering permit, ship‚Äôs log, Naval Headquarters approval and the certificate of the Joint Task Force, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield. ‚ÄúLaboratory analysis of the sample of the product from the vessel also indicated that the AGO on board is of poor diesel quality.‚Äù
Enemor said there was a need to institute a proper legal action against MV DALAL. He said the Navy had handed over 10 crew members arrested on board the ship and other exhibits to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. He said the suspects were transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission after a brief ceremony at the command‚Äôs headquarters on Saturday in Yenagoa.
(MIKE ODIEGWU – PUNCH)