MT FRANKENSEN, a motor tanker, was arrested about 5nm off Nun river entrance by a Nigerian Navy patrol team from FOB FORMOSO at about 0630 on 24 Oct 13. At the time of arrest, the vessel was loaded with product suspected to be stolen crude oil from Akassa Community in Brass L. G. A. of Bayelsa State. The crew of the vessel consists of 9 Nigerians and 3 Ghanaians.
Upon interrogation, the Captain, Adeyemi Akinleye confessed on video that they were instructed by the owner of the vessel known as Mr. John George, residing in Port Harcourt to load stolen crude oil from 2 barges around Akassa and thereafter proceed to Tema in Ghana where the product would be disposed of. Disclosing further details on their mission, the Captain revealed that a local pilot was used to navigate the vessel into Nun River while one Mr. Destiny was the agent that supplied the product. MT FRANKENSEN was loaded with over 1,092,000 litres of stolen crude oil contained in 8 of the 10 tanks compartments onboard the vessel at the time of arrest.
The characteristics of the vessel are as follows:
a. IMO No - Nil.
b. Crew - 12.
c. Length - 83 M.
d. Breadth - 8 M.
e. Tonnage - 1200MT.
f. Tank Compartments - 10.
Preliminary investigation disclosed that at the time of arrest, the vessel could not tender relevant documents and permits required for the movement of petroleum products through Nigerian waters. Also, the vessel’s Movement Log disclosed evidence of previous voyages to Ghana. It seems reasonable therefore to infer that this is not the first attempt by the owner of the vessel to steal crude oil in Nigeria for the purpose of selling in Ghana.
Addressing the media during an on – the –spot visit to the arrested vessel on 26 October 2013, the Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sidi-Ali Hassan Usman reiterated the determination of the Command under his watch to completely eradicate the menace of oil theft, illegal bunkering and other forms of criminalities in the Command’s Area of Responsibility. He further stressed that this is in tandem with the Chief of the Naval Staff’s Strategic Guidance 01 in furtherance of the president, Commander-in-Chief’s mandate to the Nigerian Navy.