The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS DELTA, on Thursday handed over two impounded ocean-going vessels to the officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Warri.
The Executive Officer of NNS Delta, Festus Adewuyi, handed over the vessels, MT Aisha and MT Hauwa to EFCC on behalf of the Commander, NNS DELTA, Ibrahim Dewu.
Addressing newsmen, Mr Adewuyi, a navy captain, said the impounded vessels were laden with about 120 tons of product suspected to be illegally refined Automated Gasoline Oil, AGO.
He said the vessels were seized in February 2016 within the NNS DELTA areas of responsibility.
He explained that the suspects on board ships had since been handed over to the police for prosecution after due interrogation by the Navy.
Mr Adewuyi said the handing over of the seized vessels to EFCC was in line with directives from the Naval headquarters.
“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 handover seized vessels to the EFCC for further investigations and possible prosecution.”
Richard Ogberaga, leader of the EFCC team from the Benin Zonal office, assured that the commission would conduct thorough investigation into the matter.
“We will carry out thorough investigation with a view to determining the level of involvement, content of the vessels and prosecution of those involved in the crime,” he said
The officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, took samples of the content of the vessels for further laboratory analysis.