Shipping Position Weekly first heard of it as rumour, but by last week, it had been confirmed that some tank farm owners with connivance of unidentified security agents in Lagos are involved in unwholesome practice of discharging products outside of prescribed jetties, thereby defrauding government of its accruable revenue.
Sources who are also marketers confided in our correspondent that sometime, illegal discharge of petroleum products do take place some nautical miles or meters away from the jetty.
Investigations which took our correspondent to some of the jetties as well as the popular Atlas Cove jetty, all in Lagos revealed that many times and with total endorsement of unscrupulous security agents pass a very long hi-tech hose and pumping devices from the storage tank at the jetty facility to the discharging vessel which in most cases stay some nautical miles away form the dock.
The practice is akin to what is called mid stream discharge in conventional shipping operations and which is only permitted with the authorisation of relevant agencies within he port system.
It usually allowed when bigger vessels can not berth at the destined port, such as hip will be lightened through mid stream discharge.
A source who spoke with our correspondent under anonymity confirmed that the illegal act was adequately supported by the security agents that are usually patrolling the water ways. He alleged that some of these security officials after taking some money from the owners of the products often look the other way while the illegal discharge goes on.
Our source confirmed that any vessel coming in to discharge product at the jetties must have duly signed all relevant documents to indicate that appropriate tariffs have been paid before it is allowed to dock at the jetty.
“With high level contact, security agents and other government officials who are in charge of this exercise sometimes allow a tanker that does not have all necessary papers to discharge far away from the jetties” he said adding that “there are some hoses that can stretch from Tin Can port to Apapa port and during this operation; they will not allow any other vessel to pass through that vicinity”.
Also confirming the unwholesome practice, a petroleum marketer, one Mr. Olanife Adeoye hinted that the possibility of discharging product exists, but exonerated Ibru jetty form the practice.
“It is very possible to circumvent the security of any system, if the military men at the Niger delta region can be compromising with the militants to do illegal bunkering, then anything is possible, but I can assure you that such a situation cannot occur at the Ibru jetty because we also have detectives among the security agencies patrolling the waters both night and day,
Ibru never jokes with money being collected there because the federal government also generates money from there, so the possibility is very faint there but at independent jetties, it is possible”.