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Six Ghanaians detained on oil vessel in Nigeria

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Six Ghanaian nationals have been found in a bunkering vessel arrested by security officials in the Delta State of Nigeria, the Punch newspaper has reported.

The vessel MT Sandra Valleta Lagos which is involved in oil bunkering was grounded by suspected oil bunkerers before the Nigerian security agencies moved in Monday, December 29, 2008 and arrested it.

The vessel was attempting to escape with stolen crude oil from the waterways of Delta State, but illegal dealers prevented the vessel from entering the oil community.

When the vessel was searched, it was found to be holding four million litres (about 24, 286 barrels) of what is believed to be stolen crude oil.

The vessel at the time of the arrest Satrurday December 27, 2008 was operating under the false name MT Hope.

The six Ghanaian crew members and a Nigerian, who have not yet been identified, are being interrogated by a Joint Task Force, Operation Restore Hope.

The volatile Niger Delta in Nigeria is a hotbed of armed clashes, kidnappings and oil bunkering. The kidnappers usually asked for ransoms before their victims are released.

The new administration of Musa Yar’Adua is working hard to bring stability to the region where armed groups have emerged over the years, demanding a fair share of Nigeria’s oil  revenue.

The Delta region, where Nigeria’s oil is drilled is among he country’s poorest communities.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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