At present, unease pervades Nigeria’s oil and shipping business sector following the suspension of about 113 vessels from lifting crude and operating in the nation’s territorial waters by the NNPC.
A document, allegedly signed by the Group General Manager of NNPC’s Crude Oil Marketing Division, Gbenga O. Komolafe, stated that the corporation has prohibited 113 tankers “from engaging in crude oil/gas loading activities in any of the terminals within the Nigerian territorial waters until further notice.”
The letter dated July 15, 2015 was addressed to terminal operators in Nigeria and the affected tankers listed in an attached spreadsheet.
“The affected vessels have also been barred from movements within the Nigerian territorial waters henceforth,” it said.
Although, the document did not state the reasons for the action, it noted that the enforcement of the directive takes immediate effect pending a notice to the contrary by the Federal Government.
The operators, worried about the development, have been making efforts such as calls and visits to the NNPC Towers to get to the root of the matter.
“It is shocking. I wonder why they are issuing such directive at this time. Well, we will comply and continue to negotiate for a way forward,” the source said.
Stakeholders believe the directive is among the steps being taken by the NNPC to ensure strict compliance with measures of following due process and ultimately scrutinising the crude lifting process.
Efforts to reach the Group Managing Director, Group Public Affairs, NNPC, Ohi Alegbe, proved abortive as phone calls were not responded to.