Navy Nab 17 Crew Members, Seize Motor Tanker Vinnalaris 1 Lagos Over Alleged 500 Metric Tonnes Crude Oil Theft 

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By Emmanuel Edom

In its avowed determination to curb alarming cases of Crude Oil theft and all manners of criminality in the maritime domain, the Nigerian Navy said it has nabbed 17 Crew Members of a crude oil stealing syndicate and seized their Motor Tanker, Vinnalaris I Lagos, for siphoning 500 Metric Tonnes of crude oil.

The feat was said to have been achieved by Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, (FOB) IGBOKODA in Ondo on 

Wednesday 6 December, 2023, at about 10:00pm .

Navy therefore warned all criminals and their cohorts , that it would 

use all legitimate means at its disposal to track and arrest perpetrators of illegalities in 

Nigeria’s maritime environment while individuals carrying out legitimate business are 

advised to go about their legitimate activities.

In a statement signed and dispatched to News Planet International by the Director of Information, Commodore 

A.O. Ayo-Vaughan, Naval  Operatives were said to have detected and arrested the suspects in the early hours 

of Thursday ,7 December 2023 at about 3.00am, with a 77-meter-long Motor Tanker (MT)

VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS. 

According to the statement, “The vessel had 17 crew members onboard at the time of arrest 

was caught engaging in illegal siphoning of crude oil from one of the well heads at 

EBESAN oil field about 7 nautical miles off the coast of Awoye riverine community in 

Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State”.

Commodore Vaughn ,noted that the ” apprehension of the vessel was based on 

credible intelligence received by the Base on the illegal activities of crude oil thieves at 

the location which informed the swift deployment of FOB IGBOKODA personnel to 

enforce the arrest of the vessel and her crew”. 

 Narrating how the Naval Operatives achieved the feat, Vaughn ,Said thus : “Notably, as the anti-Crude Oil Theft Patrol Team of FOB IGBOKODA approached

MT VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS, the 2 x boats attached to the vessel fled on sighting the 

naval personnel which confirmed the engagement of the vessel in illegality”.

He said, “Accordingly, 

on arrival at the scene, it was discovered that the vessel was actively involved in siphoning 

crude oil from both sides of the well head”

Consequently, “upon further search and 

interrogation, it was further discovered that the vessel had onboard 17 crew members of 

Nigerian nationality. The vessel’s storage capacity is about 15,000 metric tonnes and as 

at the time of arrest she had loaded about 500 Metric tonnes of crude oil”.

He said: “The arrest of MT VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS attests to the Nigerian Navy’s 

determination to curb crude oil theft and all manners of illegalities in Nigeria’s maritime

domain. All criminals and their cohorts are hereby warned that the Nigerian Navy will 

use all legitimate means at its disposal to track and arrest perpetrators of illegalities in 

Nigeria’s maritime environment. While individuals carrying out legitimate business are 

advised to go about their legitimate activities”.

The Force, also solicited for the cooperation of patriotic 

and well – meaning members of the public to promptly report any form of criminalities 

especially in the coastal communities to the Nigerian Navy for necessary action.

It furthermore alleged TSS involvement in the incident, saying,”it is believed that Tantita Security Service (TSS) is involved in these 

illegalities because Awoye riverine area which is close to the place of arrest is covered by 

TSS. Again, it was upon the arrest of the vessel by the Nigerian Navy that TSS began to 

raise false alarm, totally unfounded and indeed mischievous”. 

Navy assures that it remain resolute in the pursuit of her constitutional mandate for the protection of 

Nigeria’s Maritime Environment for national economic development and prosperity.

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