In continuation of its mult-inational sea excercise against maritime criminality and piracy in the nation’s maritime domain and the gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Navy at the weekend impounded a vessel, Motor Tanker (MT) Harbor Spirit at the Fairway Bouy of Bonny with content suspected to be stolen crude oil.
Also arrested were a 13 man crew of the vessel, all Nigerians who were subsequently handed over to the Forward Operating Base for further investigation.
Confirming the arrest, Director of Naval Information, Commodore AO Ayo-Vaughan said, “On day 7 of the Exercise Obangame Express, Nigerian Navy Ship ‘Thunder’ intercepted Motor Tanker Harbor Spirit (A Vessel of Interest) at about 10.30 on Thursday 7 March 2022, on suspicion of engaging in illegal activities.
“The vessel was subsequently boarded by the Nigerian Navy and she was discovered to be in possession of forged documents for the evacuation of fortified and auctioned products (crude oil) from MV Kome XVIII.
“Accordingly, MT Harbor Spirit and her crew of 13 men, all Nigerians, were arrested and handed over to Forward Operating Base, Bonny for further investigation and possible hand over for prosecution.
“The arrest of MT Harbor Spirit came barely two days after the arrest of MT ‘Queen of Peace’ after the unauthorized possession of petroleum products without valid documents.
“It is indicative of the resolve of the Nigerian Navy to rid Nigerian Maritime environment of all infractions and illegalities for legitimate maritime activities to strive towards the economic growth of Nigeria”.
Recall that Exercise Obangame Express which was flagged off by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral AZ Gambo, involved 32 participating countries and was conducted from 11 – 18, 2022.