Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Godsgift Onyedinefu

The Nigerian Navy says it has seized  $700,000 worth of crude oil products within two weeks, as part of its operation against oil thieves in the Niger Delta region.

The Navy said it also denied oil thieves and criminals of about N200 million, in addition to several  other seizures and arrests within the period.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Navy launched Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (OPDDB) on 1 April 2022 to check what it termed an increasing Crude Oil Theft (COT) and related acts of economic sabotage in the South South geopolitical zone.

“In furtherance of the operation therefore, several arrests and seizures have been recorded,” the Navy saud in a statement signed by spokesperson, Comodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan on Saturday.

According to the statement, on 5
April 2022, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) PATHFINDER at Port-Harcourt intercepted 9 ‘huge’ (‘Cotonou’) wooden boats laden with unspecified quantity of illegally refined AGO at Andoki, Bille and other areas within her area of responsibility.

“Additionally, Illegal Refining Sites (IRS) with cooking pots, tanks and reservoirs were discovered at in Ketoru Creek. The Base also arrested 2 STARZ marine BOATS DOROH 1 and DOROH 2 for providing illegal escort services within the Bonny maritime area without proper approvals. Also, on 7 April 2022, NNS ABA intercepted and arrested MV ROYAL DIADEM which was laden with suspected illegally refined AGO of unspecified quantity at Bonny area.

“The vessel was unable to provide appropriate documentation at the point of loading, hence MV ROYAL DIADEM is presently undergoing investigation.
,” the statement added.

The Navy further disclosed that the NNS DELTA at Warri located an IRS around Opumami and Asukpo Creek laden with about 520,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil, and destroyed  several metallic ovens and storage tanks Also, at Egwa creek in Warri area.

“In addition, on 11 April 2022, Forward Operation Base (FOB) FORMOSO acting on intelligence reports raided Fununu Fishing Camp in Akassa, Bayelsa State, a known but suspected hideout for illegal refining operators and sea robbers. In the encounter, a dugout pit containing about 1,258bbls of stolen crude oil was deactivated. In the same vein and on the same day, FOB BONNY destroyed a wooden laden boat with unspecified quantities of suspected crude oil at Nabil creek in Rivers State.

“Furthermore, on 15 April 2022, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa discovered 2 stores and assembly points used by illegal bunkerers at Onimbu and Ayama communities subsequently leading to the discovery of 6,000 litres of AGO.  The Base also arrested 3 trucks each laden with 35,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO. Equally, NNS DELTA at Asugbo Creek in Warri deactivated an IRS with about 50,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and 150,000 litres of suspected sludge. On the same day also, the Base deactivated an IRS around Egwa creek in Warri laden with 250,000 litres of stolen crude and about 30,000 litres of illegally refined AGO. Meanwhile, in Akwa-Ibom state, NNS JUBILEE intercepted and arrested a wooden boat laden with about 100 drums and sacks of product estimated at about 33,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO,” the statement further read.

The Navy, therfore reiterated its resolve to ensure zero tolerance for crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and related economic crimes in the Nation’s maritime area and the South South geopolitical zone in particular.

It warned onomic saboteurs and their sponsors to desist from the criminal acts.

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