The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has taken possession of MTT4, the impounded vessel and 20 suspected crude oil thieves in Bayelsa.

The Nigerian Navy Commodore Patrick Effah, and Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship Soroh (NNS), handed over the vessel to the EFCC in Brass, Bayelsa on Saturday.

Effah said that the vessel was loaded with 700,000 litres of illegally sourced crude oil.

He said the vessel was intercepted on Dec. 6, 2021, in Akassa River, while the crew was arrested for indulgence in crude oil theft.

He said the handing over to the Commission was in compliance with the naval headquarters’ directives, adding that the vessel and her crew were complicit in the crime that borders on economic sabotage.

“The Nigerian Navy has been given the mandate to apprehend any ship suspected to be carrying out illegalities in the Nigerian maritime domain, however, by law, we are not allowed to carry out prosecution of offenders.

“We are directed to hand over seized vessels to the EFCC for further investigations and possible prosecution,’’ he said.

Mr Anthony Mark, an official of the EFCC team, Port Harcourt Zonal Office, who received the vessel, reiterated the readiness of the commission to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter.

“We will carry out a thorough investigation with a view to determining the level of involvement, the content of the vessel and prosecution of those involved,” he said.

Newsmen report that officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) collected samples of the content of the vessel for further laboratory analysis.

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