Nigeria intercepted an oil tanker it believed was smuggling fuel after the vessel tried to get approval to import twice the amount it was carrying, at a time when the nation is struggling with shortages of the commodity.
Authorities detained the crew members and vessel on April 28 for investigation into “covering up” illegal activities, the navy said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and one of its largest oil producers, is struggling with the worst fuel shortages in a year because of inadequate domestic refining capacity. The deficits have been exacerbated by hoarding and diversion of as much as 30 percent of refined products, according to the petroleum resources ministry.
Oil marketers have also contested Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s capping of fuel prices after the removal of subsidies.