No fewer than 57 sailors have been arrested in Rivers State by the Nigerian Navy for allegedly smuggling crude oil and illegally refining diesel.
The sailors, including a Ukrainian, a Mexican and 55 Nigerians, were arrested between August 11 and August 25 onboard four vessels, two wooden boats and a barge, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Capt. Adegoke Ebo, Executive Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder, spoke in Onne, Rivers, while handing over the suspects and items to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday.
He said, “The suspects were intercepted by the NNS Pathfinder patrol team around Onne Anchorage and Okochiri creek in Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers.
“The four vessels, MV Western Orient, MV Temile, AHT Ajemisan and Jascon 23 as well as two large wooden boats and a barge, Ana Marine, all had 57 crew members onboard.
“They comprised of 55 Nigerians, one Mexican and one Ukraine nationals.
"The crews did not have clearance to transport petroleum products in the nation’s waters.”
Ebo said the vessels and wooden boats were laden with unspecified quantity of petroleum products suspected to be crude oil and illegally refined diesel.