The Nigerian Navy (NN) has handed over a seized vessel, MT TIS IV, and its 22 crew members to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation and possible prosecution.
The vessel and crew members were arrested on December 6, 2021, by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS Soroh), Central Naval Command, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State within the Akassa River in Brass local government area of the state.
The vessel as of the time of the arrest was loaded with 700 liters of illegally sourced crude oil worth about N148,281,000.
Commander of NNS Soroh, Commodore Patrick Effah, who presided over the handover ceremony in Brass LGA of Bayelsa State, said the investigation conducted by the Navy revealed that the vessel and its crew members were complicit in economic sabotage against Nigeria.
“On December 6 2021, the Nigerian Navy during a routine patrol within the Akassa River channel arrested a Vessel MT S loaded with about 700,000 litres of illegally sourced oil.
“We went on to conduct investigation on the vessel and her crew. We have established the fact that the vessel and her crew were complicit in crime that borders on economic sabotage. As a result of that, we are here to officially hand over the vessel and her crew to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for them to carry out further investigation and prosecute the offenders for economic crime,” he said.
Effah in an interview with journalists, said NNS Soroh would ensure in 2022 it realise the vision of the Chief of Naval Staff in the war against crime and criminality in the waterways.
He, therefore, seized the opportunity to warn all those involve in oil theft, bunkering and economic sabotage to desist as NNS Soroh would not spare any criminal element.
The representative of the EFCC, Mr Anthony Mark, speaking shortly after receiving the vessel and its crew members, said the anti-graft agency would commence further investigation and move to the next stage of prosecution of the suspects.