• Vessel MT alleged of Oil bunkering still in Navy, says owners

    Vessel mt alleged of oil bunkering still in navy says owners - nigeria newspapers online
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    New Cross Exploration and Production Limited, owners of Vessel MT Prestigious recently apprehended on suspicion of engaging in illegal oil bunkering, has debunked insinuations that the vessel has left the custody of the Nigerian Navy.

    A local interest and pressure group, the Niger Delta Renaissance Network, had alleged that the vessel arrested in Bonny area had been released.It was, however, gathered that the arrested vessel was used to service barges that conveyed crude oil to oil export mother ships on the high seas off Bonny and not for bunkering as alleged.

    Findings revealed that the vessel was arrested by the Inspector General of Police’s Oil Bunkering Team for allegedly engaging in illegal oil bunkering. The team and a private security company engaged by the NNPC accordingly handed over the vessel to the Navy.

    Investigations have since commenced to determine the true identity and mission of the vessel in the area at the time of its apprehension.

    Accordingly, the IGP’s team has obtained product samples as part of its investigation but can only progress to obtain fingerprints with the written permission of the regulatory agency, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and in the presence of an independent laboratory.

    But the owners of the vessel, Newcross Exploration and Production Limited, have insisted that the vessel was not engaged in any illegal activity, disclosing that the vessel is legally engaged by oil production companies for conveying crude to the Bonny Terminal SBM 3.

    The company disclosed that the crew on the vessel has since made useful statements to investigators. Besides, the company has issued a detailed report and formal statement on the incident and the transparency of the vessel’s mission and engagements.

    According to the company, their report and full disclosure account has been communicated to all the relevant agencies of government including the National Security Adviser (NSA) and all service Chiefs.

    The officials of the company, while lamenting the loss being incurred by their company over the vessel’s arrest, had however alerted the authorities to the economic losses the nation is incurring with the disruption of the vessel’s services to its client companies.

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