Belgian ship stopped for crude oil theft
A Belgian ship and its 15-member crew have been arrested for allegedly stealing Nigerian crude oil, the Nigerian Navy (NN) confirmed. The ship, MT St Vanessa, was arrested off Brass/Akassa in the Brass LGA of Bayelsa in the oil-producing Niger Delta region last week, though information about the arrest was only released on Monday. The Flag Officer, Central Naval Command of the NN, Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, said while parading the crew members – six Romanians and nine Filipinos – before journalists in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa, that the vessel was intercepted last Tuesday by men of the navy ship NNS Zaria stationed at Brass.
He said MT St Vanessa departed Lome Port on 5 June, 2012 and arrived Akassa area on 6 June without any paper from the Nigerian Ports Authority, maritime agency NIMASA or the NN to enable it operate in the Nigerian territorial waters. ‘On Tuesday 19 June 2012, at about 1520, NNS ZARIA intercepted the vessel and interrogated her. As the vessel could not give any reason for her suspicious movements in our waters, the naval ship intimated her she was under arrest. ‘MT St Vanessa blatantly refused the arrest and instead decided to speed off. NNS ZARIA commenced a hot pursuit and after about 3 hours was eventually able to effect the arrest of the vessel. The vessel was subsequently made to anchor off Brass from where she was escorted by NNS Thunder to Bonny anchorage for further investigation,’