Papua New Guinea police, defence force and customs officials have seized a Singapore-bound oil tanker carrying an estimated 14 million US dollars of suspected stolen crude oil.
The ship's 21 crew have been arrested and taken to Kokopo police station in East New Britain province.
PNG customs commissioner Gary Juffa has told the newspaper, The National, that the tanker was intercepted after it entered PNG waters without reporting its arrival.
He says they think the alleged oil thieves were working with a company operating in Bougainville.
The oil is understood to have come from tanks at the closed Panguna copper and gold mine in central Bougainville.
Earlier this week there were reports of an oil slick at Loloho port, on Bougainville's central east coast, from where the mining company had once dispatched its ore.