Crude Theft: FG Demands N7bn Before Vessel Release
The federal government is insisting that the owners of Motor Tanker (MT) Heroic Idun, must pay the sum of $15 million, about N6.92 billion as restitution to Nigeria for engaging in illegal bunkering in the nation’s waters before the vessel and her crew would be allowed to go.
After a plea bargain was reached, the owners of the rouge vessel agreed to pay N5 million as penalty for the charge and 15 million dollars as restitution to the country.
The Nigerian Navy said the amount had not been paid into the coffers of the federal government as at the time of filing this report
Recall that MT Heroic Idun and her crew were arrested nine months ago, in Equatorial Guinea, after a failed attempt to lift crude oil from Nigerian waters without clearance. Consequently, the vessel crew raised a false alarm that pirates were pursuing it.
The arrested foreign supertanker and its crew were later brought to Nigeria to face the laws of the land.
The Federal Ministry of Justice had in December 2022, said the 27 crew members of the rogue vessel, MT Heroic Idun, were arraigned at the Federal High Court Five, Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
The Nigerian Navy also said the vessel that attempted to load Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) at the Akpo Oil Terminal without authorisation, was in its custody even as it dismissed attempts by some interest groups to distract the prosecution of the offenders. Thus bringing to an end rumour that the ship and her crew had been released.
The 27 crew members, who are all foreigners, were arraigned on a three-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and attempting to deal in crude oil.
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