The global oil tanker association has dared Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the ban on oil tankers.
The body, in a letter of protest, stated that a ban on 113 oil tankers by the NNPC must be lifted by the Nigerian leader immediately as no grounds have been given for the measure.
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This protest is coming following a letter issued by the NNPC on July 15, where it cited a directive from president Muhammadu Buhari, in which the vessels, mainly VLCC crude oil tankers, were banned from calling at Nigerian crude oil terminals and also from Nigerian waters with immediate effect.
But according to PM News, INTERTANKO, whose independent members own the majority of the world’s tanker fleet, said in a letter to NNPC, dated July 22, that there were no “evidence or grounds” given for the ban.
“INTERTANKO protests in the strongest possible way that these bans should be lifted with immediate effect until grounds and evidence for the ban have been given to each vessel and vessel owner/operator, and the owner/operator has had an opportunity to respond,” General Counsel Michele White was quoted to have written in the letter.
Buhari had been working to fulfill a campaign promise to tackle corruption, particularly in the oil industry and has since, assuming office in May, 2015, dissolved the NNPC board and ordered an investigation into a scheme through which the country swaps crude for oil products such as gasoline.
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But the oil tanker association is unhappy with the Nigerian leader's decision and has called for an immediate retract of his statement.
"Our current understanding is that these ships may have been targeted due to a failure to provide official outturn figures at their last call and/or commercial differences between load and discharge figures for cargo and free water.
“This may also however be part of a general crackdown by President Buhari on corruption in Nigeria’s maritime, oil and gas, financial services and security sectors, including illegal bunkering and fuel sales.”
White said after INTERTANKO had spoken with its members in some cases the ship had not called in Nigeria for several years, or at all.
“In others, the ship has changed ownership since her last call in Nigeria.
“Members have also advised that some oil majors are attempting to introduce charterparty clauses requiring the owner to warrant that the vessel is not subject to any Nigerian bans or restrictions due to failure to report any outturn figures for prior voyages,” the body noted
Buhari also held a secret meeting with fuel importers in a bid to stem the disorderliness in the country's oil sector.