Oil Theft: Navy hands over intercepted vessel to NIMASA for investigation
The Nigerian Navy has handed over a vessel named MT Morris, intercepted for suspicious illegal activities around the Excravos offshore Waters in Delta state to the management of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for thorough investigation and prosecution.
The Commander of the Nigerian Naval Ship, NNS Delta, Commodore Abdulhamid Baba-Inna, who spoke through the Executive Officer (EO) of the NNS Delta, Captain T.A. Bassey at the brief handover ceremony after inspection of the vessel with NIMASA officials, said the Automatic Identification System (AIS) of the vessel was allegedly switched off around that region of the water, thus heightening suspicion that it was likely to shutout the vigilant eyes of Naval operatives on water patrol.
He said, “We are are handing over MT Morris arrested in July this year for conducting suspicious activities on Excravos water. She switched off the Automatic Identification system which we use to track vessels for security activities .
“She (MT Morris) had fourteen Nigerian crew onboard at the time of arrest. Their documents for sailing have not been confirmed. It is also part of what NIMASA will look at as the appropriate authority. She (the vessel) has storage tank but they were empty “
He added that the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo has re-echoed it that the Navy has non tolerance for oil theft and other maritime criminal activities, noting that it will continue to collaborate with NIMASA and other sister security agencies to rid the waterways of maritime crime.
On his part, Mr Friday Opuene , a Deputy Director in NIMASA who spoke for the agency, thanked the Navy for the collaboration, noting that the necessary documents of the vessel, crew members and related issues will be investigated for appropriate actions.