Impounded MT Prestigious Vessel Allegedly Used for Crude Oil Theft Still in Our Custody – Nigerian Navy


Contrary to media reports that a vessel, MT Prestigious, allegedly used for crude oil theft in the Niger Delta, which operatives of the Nigerian Navy recently took into custody, has not been released, Naija247news confirms

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A group named the Niger Delta Renaissance Network had accused the Navy of releasing the vessel initially apprehended by private security.

In a statement by its spokesman, Comrade Gabriel Aniete, the group said it uncovered a concerning incident involving the arrest and subsequent release of a ship carrying stolen crude oil.

The group alleged that a private security firm contracted to monitor pipeline vandalism and oil theft in Nigeria intercepted the MT Prestigious ship.

However, it is alleged that the Nigerian Navy, acting on orders from above, intervened and granted the release of the arrested ship.

But speaking in confidence to PRNigeria, a naval officer noted that the impounded vessel in question was not released, as the investigation into its (the vessel’s) activities is still ongoing.

According to the naval officer: “The online report of the Nigerian Navy releasing the vessel is misleading. We have not found the ground to free the vessel, which is being accused of allegedly stealing crude oil from our shores. However, the media and general public will be availed of our findings after our investigation”.

Meanwhile, PRNigeria gathered that the vessel’s owner, Newcross Exploration and Production Limited (NewcrossEP), wrote to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) regarding an investigation by the IGP Illegal Bunkering Team (Operation Tantita) into alleged illegal bunkering activities on the vessel MT Prestigious.

In a letter also copied to relevant security agencies, the oil company confirmed that a security team visited the vessel on May 2, 2024, and took written testimony from the captain, representatives of NewcrossEP, and the barging vendor.

The security team requested cargo samples, but NewcrossEP required NUPRC approval and an independent laboratory to proceed.

According to the company, the Nigerian Navy suspended NewcrossEP’s operations on MT Prestigious WD and MT Montagu, pending the investigation’s conclusion.

Therefore, the exploration company sought NUPRC’s intervention to ensure due process and resolve the situation quickly. The suspension threatens to disrupt crude oil production, gas delivery, and terminal operations, with significant financial implications for the nation.

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Gbenga Samson
Gbenga Samson
Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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