Navy nabs nine giant boats loaded with stolen crude
The fight against crude oil theft received a boost as its Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder intercepted nine huge ‘Cotonou’ wooden boats laden with an unspecified quantity of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) at Andoki, Bille in Port-Harcourt and other areas.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Navy launched Operation Dakatar Da Barawo (OPDDB) on April 1, 2022, to check increasing Crude Oil Theft (COT) and related acts of economic sabotage in the South-South geopolitical zone.
The Navy spokesman, Olukayode Ayo-Vaughan, said in furtherance of the operation, several arrests and seizures had been recorded.
According to Ayo-Vaughan, a Commodore, “Additionally, Illegal Refining Sites (IRS) with cooking pots, tanks and reservoirs were discovered at in Ketoru Creek. The Base also arrested two STARZ marine boats: DOROH 1 and DOROH 2 for providing illegal escort services within the Bonny maritime area without proper approvals.
“Also, on April 7, 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.
“Similarly, NNS DELTA at Warri located an IRS around Opumami and Asukpo Creek laden with about 520,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil. Also, at Egwa creek in Warri area, an IRS observed to contain several metallic ovens and storage tanks was destroyed. In addition, on April 11, 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 April 15, 2022, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa discovered two 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.
“These arrests and seizures from the ongoing OPDDB have denied oil thieves and criminals of about N200 million and $700,000 worth of products within a period of roughly 2 weeks. It is indicative of the Nigerian Navy’s resolve to ensure zero tolerance for COT, illegal bunkering and related economic crimes in the Nation’s maritime area and the South-South geopolitical zone in particular. Economic saboteurs and their sponsors are therefore warned to desist from these unpatriotic and criminal acts.”