Military replies critics, justifies destruction of stolen crude vessel
Following widespread condemnation on the setting ablaze of an intercepted vessel laden with stolen crude oil in the Escravos area of Delta State, the military high command has justified its actions, saying Standard Operational Procedures empowers them to do so.
The vessel was set ablaze by a military helicopter.
The vessel, allegedly owned by a Nigerian registered company, was heading to Cameroon with the cargo onboard when it was apprehended at an offshore location with the captain and crew members onboard.
Justifying their action, the Director Defence Media Operations (DMO), Major General Edward Buba, told newsmen: “What I know is that there is operating procedure which stipulates it should be destroyed instantly.
“On July 7, troops and Operators of Tantita Surveillance contractors intercepted a vessel loaded with suspected stolen crude oil and arrested 12 suspects (a Ghanaian and 11 Nigerians). The vessel was arrested between the boundaries of Delta and Ondo State. The vessel, MT TURA II, reportedly owned by Holab Maritime Services Limited has a tank capacity of 800,000 litres. The vessel was previously named ALI RITA BEY.
“Close inspection on the vessel revealed that only two compartments were partially filled with about 150 metric tones, which is approximately 178,000 litres. This quantity is less than a quarter of the vessel. The vessel upon arrest was moved to Oporoza in Warri South West Council of Delta State.”
He said the vessel was destroyed on July 11 in accordance with extant operating procedure that stipulates instant destruction of any vehicle, vessel or equipment linked with crude oil theft.
MEANWHILE, troops of the Nigerian Army have killed 25 terrorists, bandits and other suspected criminals while 107 others were arrested in the last two weeks in the ongoing operations that cut across various theatres war.
The Director of DMO at the Defence Headquarters, Major General Buba, said the discovery and destruction of illegal refining sites in the Niger-Delta region during the period also denied oil thieves the sum of N202,788,300.
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