The Nigerian Navy has ignited a marine vessel named MV Cecilia, which was seized by its personnel a few days ago. The vessel was found to be carrying a substantial cargo of 350,000 liters of petroleum products.Earlier, the Nigerian Navy had reported the successful interception of stolen Automated Gas Oil, commonly known as diesel, in Woji, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. The operation led to the seizure of a vessel named MV Cecilia, which had been out of use for two years but was being utilized as a storage tank for illicitly refined products. The vessel, carrying around 350,000 liters of petroleum products, was apprehended by the personnel of the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder in Port Harcourt on August 16, 2023. During the operation, three suspects were apprehended.
Rear Admiral Olusegun Ferrera, Commander of Operation Delta Safe, represented by Navy Commodore Adedokun Siyanbade, the maritime component commander of the Joint Task Force for Operation Delta Safe in the South-South region, confirmed the seizure. He revealed that the vessel had been adapted for illegal storage and had not been in active use for the past two years. The arrest occurred as part of the Navy’s efforts to fulfill the mandate of Operation Delta Safe. The Commander of JTF, South-South of OPDS, issued a directive based on credible intelligence for the NNS Pathfinder to carry out a covert operation in the designated area.
Recently, reports emerged indicating that the impounded vessel had been transported deep into the waters and deliberately set on fire by personnel from NNS Pathfinder, in adherence to applicable regulations. Witnesses on the scene, including journalists, confirmed that the vessel was escorted by two naval gunboats and a tugboat for over two hours until it reached a secure location. Subsequently, the stationary vessel erupted into flames, releasing thick black smoke that billowed into the sky.