13 Filipinos in Nigeria oil theft freed

By Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:19:00 02/26/2009

MANILA, Philippines — Less than a week after they were convicted of stealing 12,500 tons of crude oil from the Niger Delta, 13 Filipino seafarers were released Thursday afternoon, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Citing a report from the Office of the Vice President, DFA acting spokesman Ed Malay said the 13 were released after the owner of the M/T Akuada, Corinthian City, paid the fine of $6,800 for each seaman.

Last Friday, February 20, a Nigerian court sentenced the Filipinos to five years imprisonment or the fine after they were caught on November 13, 2008 stealing or illegally transporting oil, commonly known as oil bunkering.

Nigeria, one of Africa’s largest oil producers, exporting some two million barrels of oil per day, loses an estimated 100,000 barrels of liters of crude or refined petroleum products every day to organized gangs that tap pipelines and siphon off tons of oil.

Citing various kidnapping incidents, the Philippine government has a standing work ban in Nigeria.

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