Reports That April 19 “Pirate” Attack in Bonny, Nigeria Was Disagreement Between Criminal Syndicates in Illicit Crude Oil Theft
May 24: The Nigerian Navy has stated that the April 19 pirate attack and kidnapping of 6-7 crew was intentionally misreported. This comes after recent reports that the vessel – Apecus (aka. Madina) – was involved in suspicious activity, and after conflicting reports on whether a ransom demand was issued on May 20.
18 seafarers have now been arrested in Nigeria for allegedly attempting to illegally export stolen crude oil to Ghana.
According to the Nigerian Navy, the seafarers were planning to sell the stolen crude oil using two vessels, namely the MT Apecus and the MT Invictus, which are owned by the Petrogress Incorporation. The Managing Director of Petrogress in Nigeria, Osimili Adah was one of those arrested.
“Our findings revealed that Adah has been actively involved in sourcing crude oil from Nigerian creeks and shipping it to Platon Gas Oil Refinery in Tema, Ghana without clearance and approval,” said a representative of the Nigerian Navy in a statement to the press.
According to the Nigerian Navy, one of the suspects arrested presented evidence and proof of the illicit trading to the authorities. He also went on to reveal that the report of the pirate attack on the MT Apecus on April the 19th had been manipulated by Mr. Adah.
Apparently, the kidnapping was the result of a disagreement between the pirates and the crew over the stolen crude oil, rather than a traditional pirate attack.
“Contrary to the initial reports, our investigation revealed that the abduction was rather as a result of failed oil theft collaboration. Investigation revealed that one of the aggrieved syndicates resorted to the abduction of the five Indians and two Nigerians.
“A sister maritime agency revealed that MT Apecus had been conducting trading activities in Nigerian waters since 2014 without clearance and approval,” said a Nigerian Navy representative in a statement to the press.
Source: ARX Maritime / Ilias Kiritsis