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Nigeria bans 113 vessels from lifting crude oil/Intertanko comment

 
July 31st 2015
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate ban of 113 crude oil vessels from doing business in any of the 27 oil terminals within the length and breadth of the Nigerian territorial waters.

The ban followed a directive contained in a memo dated July 15, 2015 by the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Gbenga Komolafe, to all terminal operators.

Copies of the memo were also sent the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources; Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency, and the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service.


No reason was stated in the memo why the ban was imposed on the affected vessels.

However, industry sources familiar with the development said the ban may not be unconnected with certain discrepancies between the volume of crude oil lifted by the affected vessels from various Nigerian terminals and the volume eventually discharged abroad to buyers.

The source, who pleaded not to be named, as he was not authorised to speak officially on the issue, said the NNPC had faced the challenge of explaining huge differences between the volume of crude oil lifted from Nigeria by these vessels and what they actually delivered to customers abroad.

Considering the huge volumes involved, the source said it was difficult to rule out high level connivance to steal the country’s crude oil using the affected vessels, a development that costs the Nigerian government huge losses in revenue.

Since his assumption of office, President Buhari, himself a former Minister of Petroleum, has met the top hierarchy of NNPC management and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to express his concern over the huge impact of crude oil theft on the country’s economy.

The President has also met with the leadership of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Navy to emphasise the need for them to step up their processes to ensure close scrutiny of all NNPC’s operations at all terminals within the country’s territorial waters.

Some of the affected vessels include MV Eliza, with international maritime organisation registration, IMO, No. 9387578 with MV Happines, with IMO No. 9212905; MV Progress, with IMO No. 9180152; MV New Harmony (No. 963207); MV Cosgrace Lake (No. 9294587) and MV Plata Glory (No. 9172674).

Others include MV Humanity (No. 9180281); MV Scf Shanghai (No. 9325968); MV Tenyo (No. 9222443); MV Astro Challenge (No. 9237072); MV Maran Thetis (No. 94214427); MV BW Bauhinia (No. 9315070); MV Dream (No.9356893); MV Xin Dan Yag (No. 96140048) and MV Desim (No. 9395305).

Source

Intertanko Objects to Nigerian Tanker Ban

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko) has issued a letter of protest to Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NITC) against the oil corporation’s decision to ban 113 tankers from Nigerian waters.

According to the decision, 113 tankers were banned “from engaging in crude oil/gas loading activities in any of the terminals within the Nigerian territorial waters until further notice.”

NNPC said that the ban had been ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari, but reasons behind the decision had not been disclosed.

The list of tankers consists of mostly Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), with some ship names appearing twice and others that have been absent from Nigerian waters for quite some time.

“Intertanko protests in the strongest possible way that these bans should be lifted with immediate effect until grounds and evidence for the ban have been given to each vessel and vessel owner/operator, and the owner/operator has had an opportunity to respond,” said Intertanko general counsel Michael White in a letter addressed to Gbenga O. Komolafe, the group general manager of NNPC’s crude oil marketing division.

According to White, many of the tankers on the list have been absent from Nigerian waters for quite some time, hence their owners find it difficult to understand why have they been blacklisted.

Source