TANKER CAPTAIN CHARGED WITH SMUGGLING IN PNG

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$14 million in crude oil stolen in Bougainville

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 22, 2010) – The captain of an oil tanker charged with smuggling US$14 million in suspected stolen crude oil is to appear in a Papua New Guinea court on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old Burmese man is in police custody.

The ship's crew of 21 has been charged with breaching PNG's Migration Act.

The internationally registered vessel was intercepted last week by the PNG Defence Force in the Solomon Sea carrying oil allegedly siphoned from abandoned fuel tanks in Loloho, central Bougainville.

Bougainville President John Momis has accused foreign vessels of removing scrap metal and oil from the province without proper customs and immigration checks.

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