The Nigerian Navy said on Tuesday it arrested a vessel, MT Arowolo, over its suspicious movement around Onne Anchorage, in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers. Cdr. Murtala Rogo, the Base Operation Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, spoke at the handover of the vessel and two suspects to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
The Nigerian Navy said on Tuesday it arrested a vessel, MT Arowolo, over its suspicious movement around Onne Anchorage, in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers.
Cdr. Murtala Rogo, the Base Operation Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, spoke at the handover of the vessel and two suspects to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Onne.
He said that MT Arowolo was intercepted by troops on board naval gunboats, who were on routine patrol of Onne Waterways on April 11, 2018.
According to him, Onne Anchorage was known in security circles as a notorious zone for illegal activities by oil thieves and illegal bunkers.
“MT Arowolo was sighted discreetly moving along Onne Anchorage with its Automatic Identification System (AIS) switched off at several times without any justifiable reason.
“Two suspects have arrested onboard the vessel. They apparently hid the vessel’s identity to avoid detection by the navy,” he said.
Rogo explained that it was unknown to the suspects that troops were still able to monitor the movement of the suspected illicit vessel through its radar.
He said it was a maritime crime for sailors of vessels to switch off their AIS as well as turn off their navigation lights at night.
“After the arrest, the vessel was towed to the NNS Pathfinder Holding Bay at the Federal Ocean Terminal Onne for safe keeping and investigation.
“Though, the vessel was not carrying anything at the time of arrest, the area where it was arrested is a known place where illegal activities take place,” he said.
The naval officer said the navy had concluded its preliminary investigation, adding that it would hand over the vessel and suspects to the EFCC to conduct further investigation into the matter.
Receiving the vessel and suspects, a Senior Detective Superintendent of the EFCC, Mr Macaulay Olayinka, commended the Navy for its synergy with the commission.
Olayinka, who said the anti-graft agency would conduct a speedy investigation into the matter, assured that the suspects would be arraigned in court if found culpable of the allegations against them.
He said the EFCC had arraigned several suspects in court with many of them convicted and serving different jail times.