FG secures interim forfeiture of crude oil vessels seized by security operatives



The federal government has secured the interim forfeiture of two vessels seized over illegal trafficking of crude oil in the Niger Delta region

 

BACKGROUND

 

In January 2024, 20 crew members and accomplices were arrested in an MT Kali vessel, while allegedly siphoning crude oil from Pennington oil field of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Bayelsa state.

 

The vessel was seized by Tantita security services and the special task force established by Emmanuel Ogalla, chief of naval staff.

 

In February 2024, the MT harbour and spirit vessel was caught while reportedly stealing crude oil from Sengana oil fields in the coastal axis of Bayelsa state.

 

THE COURT CASES

 

The cases involving the two vessels are currently being prosecuted by the office of Kayode Egbetokun, inspector-general of police.

 

In the case of MT harbour and spirit, J.K. Omotosho, the presiding judge of the federal high court in Abuja, granted the interim forfeiture of the vessel and its content to the federal government.

 

As contained in a statement released by Tantita services on Friday, the judge directed that the federal government should wait for six weeks for anybody to show why the forfeiture should not be made permanent.

 

The judge also ordered the sale of the stolen crude oil contained in the impounded vessel by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

 

He directed that the proceeds from the sale be deposited by NNPCL in an interest yielding account to be determined by the chief registrar of the federal high court.

 

On the MT Kali vessel, J.O Abdulmalik, judge at the federal high court in Abuja, also granted the motion for the interim forfeiture of the vessel to the federal government.

 

The crew members are expected to be arraigned before the judge.

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