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Nigeria’s national oil company NNPC has prohibited 113 oil tankers from its waters effective immediately, Reuters reports citing a letter circulated by the company.

According to the letter, the ban has been ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari, but reasons behind the decision have not been disclosed.

The letter, also obtained by Platts, energy trading information provider, said that 113 tankers were banned “from engaging in crude oil/gas loading activities in any of the terminals within the Nigerian territorial waters until further notice.”

The letter, dated on July 15th, is signed by Gbenga O. Komolafe, the group general manager of NNPC’s crude oil marketing division, Platts said.

The move is believed to be stemming from the country’s efforts to curb illegal oil trading, whereas the ban could also be related to “settling dues” such as port and maritime fees.

“We hear it is about the outturn figures, as there are sometimes differences between the loading and discharge figures, especially with certain countries,” a trader active in the West African crude oil market told Platts.

The list of tankers attached to the letter seen by Reuters consists of mostly Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), with some ship names appearing twice and others that have been absent from Nigerian waters for quite some time like the Happiness, the Huge and the Diona, operated by Iranian group NITC.

World Maritime News Staff

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