The Nigerian Navy has handed over impounded vessel – MTT4 and 20 suspected crude oil thieves — to officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Bayelsa.
The vessel and her crew members were arrested on December 6 2021 by Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS Soroh), Central Naval Command, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, within Akassa River in Brass Local Government Area.
The vessel as of the time of arrest was loaded with 700 liters of illegally sourced crude oil worth about N148,281,000.
Commodore Patrick Effah, the Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship Soroh, handed over the vessel to the EFCC on Saturday.
He said the handing over to the commission was in compliance with the naval headquarters’ directives, adding that the vessel and crew were complicit in the crime that borders on economic sabotage.
He said, “The Nigerian Navy has been given the mandate to apprehend any ship suspected to be carrying out illegalities in the Nigerian maritime domain, however, by law, we are not allowed to carry out prosecution of offenders.
“We are directed to handover seized vessels to the EFCC for further investigations and possible prosecution.’’
Anthony Mark, an official of the EFCC team, Port Harcourt Zonal Office, who received the vessel, reitrated the readiness of the commission to carry out thorough investigation into the matter.
“We will carry out thorough investigation with a view to determining the level of involvement, content of the vessel and prosecution of those involved,” he said.