Navy Arrests 13 Crew Members Syndicate of Ghanaian Owned Motor Tanker SWEET MIRI For Crude Oil Theft

The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Sunday said, through its newly launched Operation, tagged OPERATION DELTA SANITY has again made a major milestone with the arrest of a syndicate of 13 crew members (One Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians) on board a Ghanaian owned/ registered vessel known as Motor Tanker (MT) SWEET MIRI on 25 Februar0y 2024.

The economic saboteurs who are bent on stealing the nation’s natural resources was made at about 174 nm (approximately 320km) off Nigeria's coast heading towards Benin Republic, after the vessel was observed to have switched off her Automatic Identification System (AIS) in a bid to evade detection. 

Naval Headquarters Director of Information, Rear Admiral Ayo-Vaughan on Sumday disclosed the arrest of the the infraction by the vessel contravene the International Ships and Port Security Code (ISPS) and she was tagged a “Vessel of Interest” (VoI) by the NN. The NN Maritime Domain Awareness infrastructure observed the criminal intent of the vessel and subsequently vectored 2 NN ships on patrol to interrogate the vessel and it was discovered that MT SWEET MIRI was involved in illegalities and the vessel was subsequently arrested. 

Curiously, the suspicious disposition of the vessel necessitated the swift deployment of Nigerian Navy Ship ABA and Nigerian Navy Ship SOKOTO to intercept the vessel. Notably, upon arrest, MT SWEET MIRI was found carrying about 2 million litres of product suspected to be crude oil without any form of approval from relevant authorities.

In line with the directive of Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, for an in-depth and independent investigation, relevant approving/prosecuting agencies have been notified for samples collection and in order to further ascertain the culpability or otherwise of the vessel. This is necessary to unmask the enemies of the Nation and to institute holistic and detailed investigations. 

He assured that the NN through the reinvigorated Operation DELTA SANITY will continue to collaborate with relevant maritime, security and law enforcement agencies in order to closely monitor, evaluate and interdict where infractions are suspected so as to bring economic saboteurs to book in line with relevant extant laws of the land.

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