The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) in collaboration with National Security and the Ghana Armed Forces have arrested thirteen persons suspected to be part of a cartel dealing in smuggling of petroleum products.

A statement from the NPA said the suspects, who were arrested following a tip-off, were transferring fuel from a ship to drums and gallons around the shores of Aflao in the Volta Region.

Seven drums, 76 empty drums, 32 filled yellow gallons (25 liter) of diesel and 20 empty containers were retrieved from them during the operation that lasted for about five hours.

The statement said investigations conducted revealed that the suspects used only text messages to communicate with the captain of the ship and are only able to identify the particular ship they are to approach to conduct their illegalities when lights in all other docked ships are off.

“Investigations have commenced into the incident to unravel more details about the operation.”

In a related development, four people are in the custody of Eastern Naval Command for engaging in illegal siphoning of fuel from two “canoe tankers” to fuel tanker vehicle.

The four suspects namely; Ali Christopher, Nii Armah Odatey, Richard Adjetey and Yetawell Immabasalam were arrested during their operation at Tema Fishing Harbour around 12midnight.

The Tanker vehicle with registration number GN 2931-12 was confiscated together with 16000 litres of fuel, pumping machine and fuel hose. The tanker boats and it operators however bolted. A seaward search was mounted for the boats but proved futile.

The NPA said it is determined to sanitise the industry and therefore urged the public to continue to support the Authority in its fight against fuel smuggling.