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JTF Releases 2 Vessels Suspected Of Illegal Bunkering

Source: pointblanknews.com

The Joint Task Force (JTF) operating in the Niger Delta region has freed

two suspected vessels carrying diesel.
The task force said that one of the vessels was carrying 282,000 litres of

diesel worth N46.53 million.
The JTF Commander, Maj.-Gen. Iliyasu Abba, announced the release of the

vehicles on Monday during the release of the two vessels to its owners in

Bonny Island, Rivers.
The two vessels, identified as MV Ebba and MT Askja Rotterdam, were

arrested along the creeks in Rivers on suspicion that they were

transporting petroleum products without permit.
Abba, represented by Maj. Badmus Adebayo, also announced the release of

nine crew members from the two vessels to their employers.

“MV Ebba, which had 282,000 litres of diesel was arrested in October 2013

on suspicion of involvement in illegal oil bunkering activities in the

Niger Delta.
“Also, MT Askja was arrested in June 2013 due to its suspicious movement

and because it anchored without permit.
“Following the arrest of the vessels by our troops on surveillance patrol,

investigation was launched with the testing of the products to

authenticate its validity and source.
“After thorough investigations were conducted; the Defence headquarters

ordered the release of the vessels and so the owners are hereby encouraged

to continue in their legal trade,” he said.
Abba said that the task force would continue to hunt oil thieves, pipeline

vandals and sea pirates till it rid the region of attacks on oil

installations.
He said that the fight against illegal bunkering activities in the Niger

Delta was the responsibility of every Nigerian so as to ensure the

nation's economic growth.
The commander called on the public to report anyone found to be involved

in oil theft and pipeline vandalism to security agencies in the state.

Reacting, an official of Ideki Services, owners of MT Askja Rotterdam, Mr

Abraham Idabubeleye, expressed delight over the release of the vessel.

He said it was wrong to assume that owners of marine vessels carried out

illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta .
He said the release of the vessels should change the view because there

were several marine investors who carried out their services

legitimately.
Idabubeleye commended JTF for its “transparency and speed” in its

investigation, saying the JTF meant well for the country's economy. (NAN)