2 Vessels Arrested Over Illegal Fuel Trading

One of the impounded vessels. INSET: Commodore Issah Yakubu with Alhassan Tampuli (right) giving details of the vessels’ arrest

TWO UNREGISTERED oil vessels said to be illegally trading in fuel in the Ghanaian territorial waters have been confiscated at the Tema Port.

The two Nigeria flagged vessels, MT Mammy Mary and MT Matrix 1, were allegedly engaged in the illegal trade near Kpone when the Ghana Navy, in collaboration with the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), intercepted them.

Over 20 crew members, including 11 Nigerians, a Pakistani and Ghanaians on board the vessels are assisting with investigations regarding the transfer of oil from one ship into another in the country’s territorial waters without lawful authority.

Addressing a news conference in Tema on Saturday, the Chief Staff Officer at the Naval Headquarters, Commodore Issah Yakubu, explained that the Navy last Friday at about 4:30 pm, picked signal that the vessels were supposedly engaging in the illegal fuel bunkering.

According to him, MT Mammy Mary, believed to be holding at least 320 metric tonnes of petroleum products was transferring the fuel into MT Matrix 1 when the security agents picked intelligence, which led to their interception at the Oil Berth of the Tema Port.

Although the vessels were not licensed to operate in Ghana, Commodore Issah Yakubu said they were seen engaging in the illegal activities without following the necessary protocols.

He pointed out that investigations were yet to establish the exact quantity of the products in the vessels.

Commodore Yakubu claimed that the collaborative machinery of stakeholders had been strengthened to deal with miscreants.

The Acting Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Hassan Tampuli, asserted that each of the agencies in the oil industry would carry out an independent detailed investigation to ascertain whether or not the confiscated products types meet the Ghanaian specs.

When DAILY GUIDE visited the scene, it discovered that the 70-meter-long MT Mammy Mary, built in 1985, had been located at the oil berth anchorage together with MT Matrix 1, which was built in 1992 with a total capacity of 3,338 metric tonnes.

Sometime last year, a vessel called MT Good Spirit owned by a company called Tmax, was said to be illegally transacting business in the Ghanaian territorial waters and was impounded by the NPA.

From Vincent Kubi, Tema