A Motor Tanker (MT) SAISNIL II has been arrested by operatives of Nigerian Navy Ship Ship (NNS) BEECROFT over an alleged involvement in crude oil theft.
Base Information Officer, Lieutenant Hussaini Ibrahim, said the vessel which has St. Vincent and Grenadines flag was suspected of illegality after it turned off its Automatic Identification System (AIS).
Ibrahim stated that turning off the AIS itself was a grievous infraction as it would make its activity within the country’s waters not to be determined. This necessitated the deployment of a patrol boat, NNS SOKOTO, which arrested the vessel and brought it back to Lagos Anchorage.
The vessel had 11 crew members at the time it was arrested at 199 nautical miles off Lagos Anchorage. The statement read; “According to the FOC, SAISNIL II initially sailed from Lagos Anchorage on 23 November 2023 to Taraba Jetty in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to evacuate about 720,000 liters of crude oil sludge but the manipulation of its AIS around ABO Field for over 48 hours gave rise to a reasonable suspicion of illegalities.”
The navy said samples of the product found onboard had been collected and taken for analysis, urging other stakeholders who may want to collect samples for their independent testing should come forward. The result of the analysis would determine their next line of action.
The statement added; “The successful detection leveraging technology and arrest of MT SAISNIL II despite the distance from the coast aligns with key priorities of the Strategic Directives of Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, Chief of the Naval Staff, emphasizing the Navy’s unweaving commitment to eradicating crude oil theft within the nation’s maritime environment for economic prosperity of our dear nation.”