Apprehended Vessel MT PRAISEL Certified by NMDPRA—Navy

August 4, 2023

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Navy has said the vessel arrested for allegedly transporting stolen crude on Thursday was certified by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), the agency of government responsible for regulating midstream and downstream petroleum operations in Nigeria.

The Navy, in a statement, said the vessel MT PRAISEL was duly approved by NMDPRA to load 1,114,721 Litres of High Pour Fuel Oil (HPFO) from Greenmac Energy Storage/Tarus Jetty Koko from July 26 to August 8, 2023.

Business Post had reported that a private security outfit Tanita Security Services (TSS), owned by former Niger Delta militant leader, Mr Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, arrested the vessel bearing a Togolese flag for transporting stolen crude in the Koko area of Delta State.

According to personnel of the TSS, the 1,117 tons vessel was carrying about 8,100 barrels of crude and was being escorted by some naval officers led by a senior commander, fuelling suggestions of an alleged conspiracy of the Navy with oil thieves.

TSS operatives said they were met with resistance from the navy boat escorting the vessel and that the naval commander threatened to deal decisively with them but refused and contacted National Security Adviser, Mr Nuhu Ribadu, and the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.

In reaction, the Nigerian Navy said it is a “misrepresentation of facts” to suggest that the operations of alleged crude oil thieves had the backing of its high command.

The Navy said it was in line with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to ensure strict compliance with the NMDPRA approval that its personnel were deployed to monitor the discharge of the product by MT PRAISEL at a facility at Bonny.

TSS at the time said it received intelligence alleging that the vessel was carrying stolen crude oil. The Navy countered and said it was contacted by TSS, and its personnel approached an element of Operation DELTA SAFE to board the vessel in order to verify the alleged stolen product.

The Navy said the vessel had been directed to Forward Operating Base ESCRAVOS anchorage for further investigation of the product onboard.

“The samples of the product onboard MT PRAISEL were collected on Thursday, August 3, 2023, by five agencies including NNPCL, NMDPRA and also TSSL in line with laid procedures for laboratory test and verification of the claim,” the Navy said.

“The NN, therefore, appeals to the general public to await the laboratory test result of the product and in-depth investigations on the allegation.”

The Navy said it has been at the forefront of supporting every single effort to halt economic saboteurs of Nigeria and called for “precaution by all stakeholders to avoid unnecessary impediment to legitimate commercial activities and businesses.”

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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