Buhari Makes U-Turn, Orders Ban On 113 Oil Vessels To Be Lifted

The ban on 113 vessels into Nigeria’s territorial waters has been lifted, a letter from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) showed on Thursday, September 10.

According to the letter, dated September 8, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the consideration of all incoming ships subject to a letter guaranteeing that they are free and will not be used for any illegal activity, PM News reports.

The president was also said to have directed a review of activities of all affected vessels to determine culpability in illegal operations in Nigerian territorial waters.

Recall that in July, Buhari had directed that 113 crude oil vessels should be banned from doing business in 27 oil terminals of the Nigerian territorial waters.

This was conveyed in a memo by the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Gbenga Komolafe, dated July 15, 2015.

Copies of the memo were addressed to all terminal operators: Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources; Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency, and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, mandating them to effect the directive immediately.

The motive for the ban was not stated in the memo but there were speculations that it 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 global oil tanker association had dared Buhari and the NNPC over the ban on oil tankers, saying it must be lifted immediately as no grounds were given for the measure.