Navy nabs crude-laden Ghananian vessel, 13 crew members 

The Nigerian Navy (NN)  has said its teams operating under Operation Delta Sanity have nabbed a syndicate of 13 crew members.

It said the crew comprised of one Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians on board a Ghanaian owned and registered vessel known as Motor Tanker (MT) SWEET MIRI.

This was contained in a statement by the Director of Information, Navy, Rear Admiral Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan,   Monday, in Abuja.

Rear Admiral Ayo-Vaughan said the operation was conducted on 25 February at about 174 nm (approximately 320km) off Nigeria’s coast, heading toward Benin Republic, after the vessel was observed to have switched off her Automatic Identification System (AIS) in a bid to evade detection.

He said the infraction by the vessel contravened the International Ships and Port Security Code (ISPS) and was tagged a “Vessel of Interest” (VoI) by the NN.

He said the NN Maritime Domain Awareness infrastructure observed the criminal intent of the vessel and subsequently vectored two NN ships on patrol to interrogate the vessel.

“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 two million litres of product suspected to be crude oil without any form of approval from relevant authorities,” he said.

Rear Admiral Ayo-Vaughan said the relevant approving/prosecuting agencies had been notified for samples collection with a view to further ascertaining the culpability or otherwise of the vessel.