Shipowners in Nigeria will be punished as “saboteurs” if found to be participating in oil theft, the country’s chief of naval staff (CNS), Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, has warned.
“While acknowledging that the majority of your members are carrying out legitimate business out there and like any other society, you still have some bad elements that are perhaps dragging your name back,” Ibas told the Nigerian Ship Owners’ Association in a meeting at the Naval Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper reports.
“Of course we all know that any attempt to sabotage the country will be met with stiff penalties, am talking with particular reference to crude oil theft, and to state that any vessel belonging to whoever that is involved in this heinous act will be so treated as saboteur,” he continued.
“At any given time your ships and your members are out there at sea. You see quite a lot that we cannot see. It is therefore imperative that you assist us with the necessary information and intelligence that we need.”
At the meeting, the president of the Nigerian Ship Owners’ Association, Captain Niyi Labinjo, called for stronger collaboration between the merchant navy and national navy in protecting the shipment of goods vital to Nigeria’s development.