Ghanaian Navy detains two oil vessels over ‘illegal’ operations

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The Ghana Navy has detained two Nigerian oil vessels for allegedly engaging in the illegal transfer of oil in Ghanaian waters around Kpone in the Greater Accra Region.

According to the Navy, they impounded the two vessels after receiving intelligence about the illegal operations of the ship in Ghanaian territory.

The Chief Staff Officer at the Navy Headquarters, Commodore Issah Yakubu, told the media that the number of sailors on board the vessels was 11 and they were all Nigerian nationals.

“Yesterday through our intelligence networks we were able to detect a suspected illegal activity going on in our waters. This involved two ships which were transferring fuel; we call it STS, ship to ship transfer at sea. Before these activities take place certain protocols have to be followed but we suspected that the necessary protocols had not been followed and we pursued them and they are now under arrest.”

He said the ship, which was transferring what is suspected to be crude oil to another vessel “is a Nigerian registered ship…From the initial check-in document, we have even seen a change of name.”

He said they seized the vessel at 16:20 on Friday.

The acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Hassan Tampuli, said investigations have already begun to ascertain whether or not the vessels have the required license to operate in Ghanaians waters.

He said they have transferred the samples of the substance would be made available to TOR for them to determine what it is.

According to Mr Tampuli, initial investigations revealed that one of the vessels was carrying 320 metric tonnes of fuel.

“Those two vessels are not registered in Ghana. The product type, they were exchanging, we are not even sure whether they meet our internal specs. We are going to go into further details on how to exact additional sanctions if there are any.

Vessel hijacked in Ghanaian waters

This development comes on the back of a reported hijacking of a Ghanaian fishing vessel by some persons believed to be Nigerian pirates.

Five persons on board were taken hostage, but the Ghana Navy rescued the abandoned vessel.

The five, including three Koreans, one Ghanaian and a Greek national, are believed to have been taken hostage by some alleged Nigerian hijackers, who attempted to seize the tuna vessel, Marine 711 on the Keta high seas.

However, one of the crew members who was found together with the abandoned vessel is currently receiving medical treatment as a result of the traumatic experience.

The vessel, Marine 711, with official No. 316694, and registration No. AFT28 has successfully rescued and is currently at berth ten at the Tema Port.

The Deputy Director of Environment and Safety Standards at the Ghana Maritime Authority, Captain Inusah Abdul-Nasir, indicated that this occurrence is not new, considering that this year [2018] alone; there had been “some significant number of hijackings in the West African sub-region.”

By: Elvis Washington/citinewsroom.com/Ghana

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