EFCC Investigates Foreign Vessel, 16 Oil Thieves
Sixteen Ukranians suspected to be oil thieves, are now being investigated by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The foreigners are being investigated alongside a vessel: MT SAN PADRE PIO, with registration number IMO 9610339 NT 2444, handed over to it by the Nigerian Navy’s Forward Operations Base, FOB Bonny, Rivers State. The suspects: Vaskov Andriy; Garchev Mykhaylo; Shulga Vladyslav; Orlovkyi Ivan; Skoropupov Andrii; Nadaraia Leonid; Vorohin Andriy; Buriak Maskym; Skok Sergiy; Yakovenko Sergiy; Boiachuk Roman; Shakov Vladyslav; Serebriakov Olehshii; Tsuekanenko Gennadiy, Diachenko Dmytro and Postoiuk Sergii, were arrested on 23 January, 2018 by the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS SAGBAMA’s patrol team deployed for anti-crude oil theft and illegal bunkering operations around Odudu terminal, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Navy Captain S.W Olurundare, who handed over the suspects to the EFCC, said that they were arrested for allegedly operating illegally in Nigerian waters against the provisions of Nigerian Cabotage Trade Law. The suspects would soon be charged to court when investigations are concluded.
Before now and in a bid to sustain the onslaught against piracy and other maritime threats in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG), Nigeria and 29 other nations commenced a multinational sea exercise, christened OBANGAME EXPRESS.
Sponsored by the United States of America (USA) through its African Partnership Station, this year’s OBANGAME EXPRESS would be concluded at Abidjan in Cote D’Ivoire.
According to the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command (ENC) and Officer in Tactical Command (OTC) Rear Admiral James Oluwole three Nigerian Navy Ships (NNS), a helicopter and a French ship would navigate the nation’s waters in the course of the exercise.
At a press briefing held at Onne Port in Rivers State, Oluwole said NNS OKPABANA, NNS CENTENARY, NNS SAGBAMA and one navy helicopter would participate in the exercise.
“The exercise is sponsored by U.S Africa Command and is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-based illicit activities.
“The purpose for the exercise is to create realistic scenarios that reflect past piracy incidents whereby a hijacked vessel will transit from one territory to another. Maritime Operations Centres (MOCs) during the Exercise will be challenged to recognise these illicit acts appropriately and share with other MOCs.