RealNews

Smugglers use tankers to steal Nigerian oil

What Nigerians call bunkering and oil executives call rustling has hit the big time: criminal gangs are siphoning so much crude oil from pipelines in the Niger delta that they have started using tankers to spirit it away. A Russian-registered tanker laden with 11,300 tonnes of allegedly stolen crude has become the latest vessel intercepted by the Nigerian navy in the gulf of Guinea. The vessel, African Pride, is believed to be part of a fleet which aids the theft of an estimated 200,000 barrels a day from the delta’s swamps. The tanker had the biggest consignment of all the 15 vessels seized since January, said Antonio Ibinabo Bob-Manuel, a Nigerian rear admiral. Its crew of 18 Russians, two Romanians and two Georgians are in jail awaiting a court hearing. The African Pride was intercepted on October 8, but an announcement was made only this week. Speaking at a press conference in a Lagos dockyard, Admiral Bob-Manuel said the thieves were scaling up from barges to tankers, with each cargo of stolen oil worth at least $10m (£5.9m). Full Story

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