Oil theft vessels will be treated as saboteurs â€“ Navy
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, said any vessel caught lifting stolen crude oil would be decisively dealt with and treated as a saboteur of the nationâ€™s economy.
Ibas made the comment during a meeting with the national leadership of the Nigerian Ship Owners Association led by its President, Capt. Olaniyi Labinjo (retd.), at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He noted that while majority of the vessel owners were doing legitimate business, there were a few among them who had been tarnishing the reputation of the association.
Ibas appealed to the vessel owners to give the expected support to the Navy to perform its statutory responsibility of proving security in the maritime domain for increased economic activities.
He stressed that the appeal for help became necessary in view of the fact that the Navy alone lacked the resources to cover the entire maritime domain, spanning 84,000 square nautical miles.
The Navy Chief specifically urged the ship owners to support the Navy in the area of providing information that could aid the Navyâ€™s efforts to curb maritime crime.
Ibas added, â€œAt any given time, your ships and your members are out there at sea; you see quite a lot that we cannot see. It is therefore imperative that you assist us with the necessary information and intelligence that we need.
â€œWhile acknowledging that the majority of your members are carrying out legitimate business out there, like any other society, you still have some bad elements that are perhaps dragging your name back, dragging your reputation back.
â€œIt is in this light that I will appeal to you as executive members of the association to warn your members, who try to undermine the state, to desist from such acts that are inimical to the development of our nation.
â€œOf course, we all know that any attempt to sabotage the country will be met with stiff penalties. I am talking with particular reference of crude oil theft and to state that any vessel belonging to whoever that is involved in this heinous act will be so treated as saboteurs.â€
Labinjo called for collaborative efforts between the Navy and the ship owners in the interest of the nation.
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