The Nigerian Navy seized an oil tanker for conducting what it called “suspicious” movements in an area notorious for illegal activity on Tuesday, April 2.
The tanker, identified by the name Arowolo, came under the navy’s scrutiny after it entered the anchorage at Onne, where oil theft and illegal bunkering have been known to regularly occur, just before 24:00 on April 1.
Navy officials became even more concerned after the tanker reportedly switched off its navigation lights and its automatic identification system (AIS) several times while inside the anchorage. Both are considered maritime crimes especially when committed during nighttime.
Gunboats were immediately despatched to the area to prevent Arowolo from escaping.
Navy troops boarded the tanker and later turned the vessel and its only two occupants over to the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Onne.
A navy official said that the vessel was not carrying any cargo at the time, clarifying that its seizure was based solely on the fact that it had attempted to avoid detection by authorities in a known hotspot of illegal activity.
The EFCC has launched an investigation into the incident.
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