Posted by THE GUARDIAN on
A SHIP carrying 11,300 tons of stolen Nigerian crude oil has been arrested by the Nigerian Navy. Also arrested on board the ship are 20 Russians and two Romanians.
The ship, 'African Pride,' with its crew and cargo was arrested on October 8, and is at present under tight security by heavily armed naval officers.
Journalists were yesterday led by top naval officers to the high sea to see the vessel at the Commodore Pool at the bay beside the Bar Beach, Lagos.
Briefing journalists after the tour, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Anthonio Ibinabo Bob-Manual, who represented the Chief of Naval Staff, confirmed the latest arrest.
According to Bob-Manuel, apart from the 'African Pride', no fewer than 14 vessels were also arrested recently.
The only difference was that most of the vessels were carrying refined products with due clearance, while a few of them were suspected to be carrying crude oil, but not of the quantity carried by the 'African Pride'.
He gave the names of some of the ships as MT Tina carrying Low Poor Fuel Oil, (LPFO) with nine Nigerians on board and MT Glory, carrying same product with three Ghanaians, two Srilankans and 11 Nigerians on board.
Both were arrested on April 23, 2003, they are still under arrest in the sea for their failure to provide clearance and other important documents.
Others are MT Zoogu, MT Capbreton, and MT Efunyo. All were sighted at the deep sea yesterday.
The FOC further confirmed that all the vessels arrested could have cost the owners between seven and $10 million to acquire. "It will be a big loss to them now that they have fallen into government's trap", he said.
According to him, all the vessels were arrested off the coast of the Niger Delta, Forcados River, Escravos, Benin River, Dodo River and Lagos offshore base.