Six Ghanaians and a Nigerian crew aboard a bunkering tanker MT Valletta allegedly being used in illegal bunkering business in Nigeria have been arrested by operatives of the Joint Task Force in Niger Delta.
The MT Valletta which has dual identities was said to be loaded with four million litres (or about 24,286 barrels) of stolen crude oil.
The ship had earlier been grounded by suspected oil bunkerers. But the rescue operation which led to the arrests was carried out with the aid of the management of the Delta Ports, Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) in Warri. The six foreigners are being drilled by security operatives with a view to gaining more insight into the activities of the oil thieves and their Nigeria collaborators and god fathers.
The ship reportedly arrived at the NPA jetty in Warri on Saturday, five days after illegal oil dealers grounded the vessel to prevent it from being brought into the oil community for investigation. The ship was arrested by the operatives of the JTF on Monday, December 29, 2008 while attempting to escape with stolen crude oil from the waterways of Delta State.
The intention of the authorities of the JTF to commence investigation into the matter immediately was frustrated by the uncooperative attitude of its crew members who eventually grounded the ship in Forcados, Burutu Local Government Area of the state.