ACCRA– The Ghana Navy has detained two Nigerian oil vessels which were allegedly engaging in some illegal oil transfer in Ghanaian waters around Kpone in the Greater Accra Region.

According to the Navy, they impounded the two vessels after receiving intelligence on the unlawful operations of the vessels in Ghanaian territory.

The Chief Staff Officer at the Navy Headquarters, Commodore Issah Yakubu, told the media that the total number of sailors on board the vessels was 11 and they were all Nigerian nationals.

Yesterday through our intelligence networks we were able to detect a suspected illegal activity going on in our waters. This involved two ships which were transferring fuel; we call it STS, ship to ship transfer at sea. Before these activities take place certain protocols have to be followed but we suspected that the necessary protocols had not been followed and we pursued them and they are now under arrest.

He said the ship, which was transferring what is suspected to be crude oil to another ship is a Nigerian registered shipFrom the initial check-in document, we have even seen a change of name.

He said the vessels were seized at 16:20 on Friday and have since been brought to the anchorage.

The acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Hassan Tampuli, said investigations have already begun to ascertain whether or not the vessels have the required license to operate in Ghanaians waters.

He said samples of the substance that was being transferred would be made available to TOR for them to determine what it is.

According to Tampuli, initial investigations revealed that one of the vessels was carrying 320 metric tonnes of fuel.

Those two vessels are not registered in Ghana. The product type, they were exchanging, we are not even sure whether they meet our domestic specs. We are going to go into further details on how to exact further sanctions if there are any.

This development comes on the back of a reported hijacking of a Ghanaian fishing vessel by some persons believed to be Nigerian pirates.

Five persons on board were taken hostage but the abandoned vessel was rescued by the Ghana Navy.

The five, including three Koreans, one Ghanaian and a Greek national, are believed to have been taken hostage by some alleged Nigerian hijackers, who attempted to seize the tuna vessel, Marine 711 on the Keta high seas.

However, one of the crew members who was found together with the abandoned vessel is currently receiving medical treatment as a result of the traumatic experience.

The vessel, Marine 711, with official No. 316694, and registration No. AFT28 has successfully rescued and is currently at berth 10 at the Tema Port.

The Deputy Director of Environment and Safety Standards at the Ghana Maritime Authority, Captain Inusah Abdul-Nasir, indicated that this occurrence is not new, considering that this year [2018] alone; there had been some significant number of hijackings in the West African sub-region.