The Forward Operating Base (FORMOSO) of the Nigeria Navy, Brass Local Government of Bayelsa, on Friday, declared a grounded seized vessel, the MT Maro as scrap and handed it over to a steel company.
The handover of the seized vessel was done in order for it to be dismantled and turned to iron steel. The vessel was grounded after its two crew members were arrested for alleged involvement in crude oil theft in 2014.
The Commander of FORMOSO, Captain Suleiman Ibrahim, said it was to enable the steel company to use the scrap for other useful things.
Ibrahim said the owners of the vessel after the arrest of the crew and subsequent prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), absconded it.
“Today, we have come for the handover of MT Maro which was under the custody of the Nigerian Navy to Sir Francis Orjiako.
“He is the Managing Director of Ayo Steel, and an industrialist; he intends to scrap the vessel and then use it for some other useful things.
“Sometime in 2014, it was originally arrested for some infractions which had to do with crude oil theft and has since then been here.
“Usually, when arrests are made, the owner of the vessel has responsibility to maintain presence in it.
“What the navy does is that as soon as arrest is made, the vessel is handed over to the EFCC, which will investigate and prosecute.
“But it does not exonerate the owner or the company that owns the vessel from directly looking after it and running the machinery.
“I think the situation was that the company that owns the vessel, after a while, pulled out her personnel and that is why the vessel is in this state,” he said.
The managing director of Ayo Steel said he intended to dismantle the vessel into scraps and melt into iron rods for industrial use.
“Well, we intend to cut it and melt it. So when we start working, any moment from next week, we will cut it and bring it out from the water. In four months, we will be through with it,” Orjiako said.