March 2, 2024

Oil theft: Navy intercepts fleeing vessel with stolen Nigerian crude oil

The Nigerian Navy in a coordinated operation with the Equatorial Guinea Navy have intercepted a crude oil supertanker, MV HEROIC IDUN, with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number 9858058, carrying stolen crude oil from Nigeria, days after escaping arrest in Nigerian shore.

The vessel was said to have been seen by the military operations around the AKPO Oil field in Port Harcourt, on August 7, before it escaped.

The Equatorial Guinea Navy in a statement revealed that the vessel was arrested on Friday, August 12, with the help of intelligence supplied to that country by the Nigerian Navy (NN).

EnergyDay gathered that the Marshal Island flagged vessel has capacity to lift about three million barrels of crude oil, built in 2020 (2 years old).

According to the statement the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) GONGOLA  (MMSI: 657754000),  had prior to the arrest interrogated the ship, when it was first seen around the AKPO Deep offshore oil field operated by a multinational firm at midnight on August 7.

The statement further said, “The vessel was seen through the NN’s Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) facility and its actions were suspicious which prompted NNS GONGOLA to establish communication and interrogate the vessel.

“Upon interrogation, it was discovered that the ship, alleged to have come into the country’s waters to load products neither had the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited’s (NNPC) loading permit, nor valid documents to be in the country’s waters.

“Having established that the said vessel was up to no good in the area it was located, the Marshal Island flagged the ship with 26 crew comprising 16 Indians, eight Srilankans, a Polish and and one Filipino.

“It was redirected to Bonny Fairway in Rivers State for further interrogation and Vessel Boarding Search and Seizure (VBSS), but it increased its speed and changed its direction facing Sao Tome and Principe,” the statement confirmed.