Nigerian Navy seizes N66 million illegally refined diesel, arrests 23 suspects

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The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Friday says it impounded a vessel, barge and wooden boat illegally conveying about 300,000 litres of suspected stolen diesel worth N66 million.

Capt. Victor Choji, the Executive Officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, presented 11 suspected crewmen to newsmen in Onne, Rivers.

He said that the vessel, MV Nazarene, barge and wooden boat were intercepted in the late hours of April 20 by troops on routine patrol of waterways.

He added that “the vessel, MV Nazarene, was caught in the act by our patrol elements transhipping suspected illegally refined diesel from a barge, DP 28, and a wooden boat at about 2300 hours.

“MV Nazarene was seized with 300,000 litres of petroleum product suspected to be illegally refined diesel.

“The 11 all-male crew members of the vessel were subsequently arrested and they have been in our custody as preliminary investigation had commenced.”

Choji said that troops also on routine patrol intercepted another suspected illegal vessel, MV Asha, escorted by six undisclosed security personnel.

He said that troops on boarding the vessel found out that the security personnel did not have permission to escort the vessel at the time of seizure.

He, however, declined to reveal the identity of the security agency that provided the illegal escort to the vessel.

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