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NNPC makes U-turn, lifts embargo on 113 vessels

By The Rainbow
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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has made a u-turn on the ban on 113 vessels engaging in crude oil/gas loading activities, which were used by the previous administration.

The NNPC confirmed Thursday that the the vessels can operate in any of the terminals within the nation's territorial waters.

It said that the new lease of operation for the vessels were sequel to a letter from the president, dated September 8.

According to the letter, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the consideration of all incoming ships subject to a letter guaranteeing that they would not be used for any illegal activity.

The letter also indicated that the President had approved the establishment of an inter-agency committee made up of the Department of State Services, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian Navy, Department of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to investigate the activities of the banned vessels within Nigerian territorial waters.

“The President has graciously approved the consideration of all incoming vessels into the Nigerian territorial waters subject to receipt of a Letter of Comfort from all terminal operators and off-takers of Nigerian oil and gas as guarantee that nominated ships are free and will not be utilised for any illegal activity whatsoever,” the letter, issued by the NNPC and seen by Platts, said.

“The President has directed the review of activities of all the affected ships to determine the culpability or otherwise in illegal operations within our territorial waters,” the NNPC letter signed by the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, Mr. Mele Kyari read.

Request for vessel clearances and documentary instructions must be accompanied by the Letter of Comfort indicating that these ships would not be involved in illegal activity, Kyari added in the letter.

The NNPC had in July banned the tankers from Nigerian waters according to a document signed by the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, NNPC, Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, were prohibited from entering Nigerian oil facilities and territorial waters.

“The NNPC has prohibited 113 tankers from engaging in crude oil/gas loading activities in any of the terminals within the Nigerian territorial waters until further notice,” the corporation had stated.

The letter was dated July 15, and addressed to terminal operators in Nigeria, while the tankers were listed in an attached spreadsheet.

It added, “The affected vessels have also been barred from movements within the Nigerian territorial waters forthwith.

Finally, enforcement of the above directives takes immediate effect pending a notice to the contrary by the government, please.”

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