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Owner of MV Cecelia Sues Nigerian Navy for Destroying Vessel Carrying Illegal Diesel



Jasper Ako, the proprietor of the MV Cecelia ship which faced apprehension by the Navy in Rivers state due to its involvement in the transportation of unlawfully refined diesel, has raised queries regarding the Navy’s jurisdiction to demolish the vessel.

A report from Channels Television states that Ako intends to resort to legal action against both Nigeria and the Navy, feeling he has no other recourse.

In recent days, the MV Cecelia has garnered attention for allegedly carrying an astonishing 350,000 liters of illicitly refined automotive gas oil, more commonly referred to as diesel.

The ship was located in the Trans Woji vicinity of Port Harcourt within Rivers State when it was seized by the Nigerian Navy. The Navy has apprehended the vessel and has conveyed its unwavering dedication not only to bringing the owner to justice but also to holding all those involved in this unlawful activity accountable.

Commodore Adedokun Siyanbade, the distinguished Commander of the Maritime Component of Operation Delta State (OPDS), in an interview with Channels Television, revealed that the Navy had acted upon credible intelligence indicating ongoing illegal activities within the designated region.

He said:

  • “The operation was conducted and that operation led to the arrest of MV Cecelia, a vessel that ought to be a service boat but has been converted to a storage tank for illegally refined products suspected to be AGO (diesel). 
  • “The vessel has not been to sea for the past two years, it was expected to be under maintenance but is being used for a different purpose whereby people from the illegal refinery side bring their products to this place to be stored whereby other people come here to purchase the products.” 

More Insights

Augustine Ojekudo who is the legal counsel to Jasper Ako, the vessel owner said that the vessel owner has communicated to all the agencies that he was not complicit in the criminal act, if any. He said:

  • “When the owner of the vessel is not involved in any criminality, why should the owner lose his much-prized vessel which is running into billions of naira? Where is the order of the Court authorizing the destruction of the vessel? How much investigation has been done by the Naval authorities to justify the destruction of the vessel?”

What you should know

According to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, between August 12 and 18, 45 illicit refineries operating in the Niger Delta were unveiled, exposing the magnitude of these unauthorized operations.

Also, there were 20 instances of unauthorized connections, 8 breaches of vessel AIS regulations, and 6 cases of oil spills, along with the identification of 20 wooden boats repurposed for transporting stolen crude.