MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Nigerian Naval authorities said the widely reported allegation about theft of crude oil on board MT PRAISEL is false. This came on the heels of due investigation and analysis of the alleged stolen crude oil.
According to Naval spokesperson; Commodore Ayo Vaughan, samples of the crude had been taken in, for Laboratory analysis and it had been ascertained that the crude oil aboard MT PRAISEL was not stolen as alleged by a private security outfit had stated.
Naval headquarters had awaited the sample results before making the announcements to set the records straight.
The released statements said:
“The vessel was reported to have been arrested by a private security outfit, Tantita Security Service Limited (TSSL) and an element of Operation DELTA SAFE (OPDS).
“The clarification of the report became necessary therefore to put the record straight and avoid the misrepresentation of facts particularly the consignment/cargo of the vessel as at the time of interception by TSSL.
“As mentioned, MT PRAISEL was duly approved by Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to load 1,114,721 Litres of High Pour Fuel Oil (HPFO) from Greenmac Energy Storage/Tarus Jetty Koko from 26 July – 8 August 2023.
“This has repeatedly been substantiated by NMDPRA. However, due to the allegation and suspicion of the vessel’s product to be stolen crude oil, samples of the product were collected on Thursday and Friday 3 & 4 August 2023 relevant agencies in line with laid procedures for laboratory analysis and verification of the claim.
“As of Saturday, August 5, 2023, the results of the laboratory analysis of the product onboard MT PRAISEL by all agencies including NMDPRA indicate that the product displayed properties consistent with Nigerian industrial standard specification for HPFO.
“This result therefore proves that the allegation and suspicion was totally wrong, unfounded, and perhaps mischievous. The intelligence which TSSL claimed to have received in respect of the vessel and its product is equally wrong.
“This singular incident brings to the fore the high-handedness and unprofessional conduct of TSSL with its attendant negative consequences for the supplier and buyer of the product, the vessel hired to convey it and other parties involved in the legitimate business.
“Accordingly, the Nigerian Navy reiterates her strong stance to support every single effort to halt economic saboteurs and to fight against crude oil theft in Nigeria’s maritime environment (NME) provided such effort is done within the ambit of the law and with the best professional conduct.
“Proper precaution therefore must be adhered to by all stakeholders to avoid unnecessary impediment to legitimate commercial activities and businesses in the maritime environment.
“Maritime security issues entails more than spontaneous actions from insufficient and unverified information because the resultant wrong responses have direct impact on the nation’s economy hence it must be handled dispassionately and professionally.
“In line with Mr President’s directive, the Navy under the able leadership of Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla will ensure transparent and robust inter-Service and inter-agency cooperation and synergy in all her operations. All stakeholders and players within the NME are thus advised to adopt the same posture in the overall interest of the nation.”