MT Antone Abandoned
Captain Victor Choji who is an Executive Officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder has disclosed that a vessel with about 1.8 million litres of crude oil stolen from oil pipelines has been abandoned at Onne, Rivers State by suspected crude oil thieves.
It was gathered that the vessel was abandoned because of the thorough scrutiny and intensive patrol undertaken by the Nigerian Navy along the waterways of the Niger Delta especially in Rivers state.
Choji broke the news when he displayed the seized crude oil to newsmen on Friday in Onne. The stolen crude oil according to the officer was stored inside a vessel MV Antone and anchored at MV Bartholomew Waterways in Onne, Rivers State.
Nigerian Navy Patrol Gun Boat
According to the Navy Officer “on February 26th, 2018, at about 5.50 hours troops of NNS Pathfinder deployed for anti-crude oil and illegal bunkering patrols, intercepted a vessel MV Anton at Sam Bartholomew waterways in Onne, Rivers state.
“The Mt Anton crew members on sighting the advancing navy patrol gunboat abandoned the vessel about the time troops arrived. Troops later boarded the vessel and found it laden with about 1.8 metric tonnes (1.8million litres) of suspected stolen crude oil.
“The Vessel has been in our custody undergoing preliminary investigation while we were waiting for someone to come forward and claim ownership of the large vessel. However, no individual or group or company has come forward to claim the vessel since it was seized by the troops”. Choji said
Nigerian Navy Patrol Boat
Choji also revealed that so far investigations to unravel the true owners of the vessel are unsuccessful as they continue to investigate further. According to the naval officer, it is interesting that owners of a very expensive vessel like this are willing to abandon it rather than being arrested and prosecuted.
“We will remain rugged, firm and resolute in our campaign against crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and all forms of illegalities within the Rivers state water domain” he vowed.
The vessel was thereafter handed over to the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC for further investigation.