The Nigerian Navy has assured residents of coastal environments in Rivers State of their readiness to keep maritime travellers safe during the festive period.
The Commanding Officer of the Forward Operations Base, Bonny, Captain Reginald Adoki made this known while parading the crew of the Marine Vessel (MV) Mother Cabrini who were arrested and their vessel seized for transporting suspected illegally refined Automative Gasoline Oil (AGO) also known as diesel.
Speaking to our correspondent, the master of the vessel, Captain Saheed said he was of the impression that he was carrying a lethal product after being supplied by his regular supplier.
He explained: “They said I should supply them bunker I did not ask because I thought it was the original bunker but the Navy arrested us and took some samples for testing before they came back and told us that it’s not up to standard”.
The term bunker apparently refers to AGO or diesel. When pressed further he confirmed that his vessel was carrying 80,000 liters of the product.
Speaking aboard the vessel however, Commanding Officer of the Forward Operations Base Bonny, Captain Reginald Adoki says his men acting on intelligence arrested the vessel and took a sample of the product they found aboard to an approved laboratory where they were tested and found to be substandard: “the base responded by deploying tactical units when we got credible intelligence that the vessel was outbound the Bonny channel proceeding to sea, and on intercepting the vessel we carried out a physical inspection, checked her documents and interrogated the crew.”
He further said “we’ve been able to establish that the vessel is carrying about 80,000 liters of the product we initially suspected to be illegally refined AGO and to confirm our suspicions samples were taken to the NMDPRA’s approved laboratory in Port Harcourt and the results confirmed our suspicions that the product is not genuine and is definitely from an illegal source.
Having taken over as Commander of the base barely two months ago, Captain Adoki also assures maritime travelers of their safety during this festive period. “We’ve rescued some victims from sea robbers and this is just to show how committed we are in this period of the year and this is what we’ll keep doing throughout this ember months when we know that possible rate of crime will increase”
In total 10 crew members were arrested aboard the MV Mother Cabrini, and the navy assures they’ll be handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.