Nigeria lost 23m litres of diesel to illegal refining in 2018, says navy
Giving the 2018 scorecard of the Navy during the first quarter media dialogue at Navy Headquarters (NHQ), the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ette-Ibas, noted that ‘Operation River Sweep’, the special sea exercise aimed at curtailing noticeable activities of illegal oil refiners, particularly in Delta and Rivers states, destroyed 637 illegal refining sites in 2018 alone.
Represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Admiral Begroy Ibe-Enwo, supported by the Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Makanjuola Kadiri, the CNS noted that 104 speedboats and 340 suspects were arrested for involvement in either illegal bunkering or smuggling.
Operation River Sweep involves air surveillance, special forces by gunboats, pulling down of located illegal refining sites with swamp buggies as well as arrest/destruction of boats and barges found in such locations.
According to him, about 212,610 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS) or petrol and 1.2 million litres of dual purpose kerosene (DPK) were also lost.
“Highlight of seizures and arrests shows that the quantity of oil lost as a result of illegal oil refining activities in 2018 is about 277,040 barrels.”
Towards checkmating the criminal tendencies of oil thieves and illegal bunkerers, it was disclosed that the navy now carries out round-the-clock surveillance of the maritime space using the Regional and Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC) and Falcon Eye Facilities in addition to vessels and helicopters.
While noting that the Navy has 24 Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) centres across the nation’s coastline, the navy said, “With the arrest of the 46 vessels and barges in 2018, it is envisaged that the MDA facilities would help to present a complete, clear, detailed and updated situation of Nigeria’s maritime domain and, by extension, the Gulf of Guinea when the proposed sites are completed.
On the establishment of naval security stations to man identified choke points through which most attacks on sea-going vessels and other operations occur, the navy said, “It involves deployment of armed personnel in houseboats in strategic locations within the creeks supported by patrol boats. So far, nine houseboats, otherwise known as Naval Security Stations, have been deployed where crude oil theft and illegal refining activities are known to be prevalent.”
Speaking on recruitment in the Navy, the Naval Secretary, Rear Admiral Funebi Ogu, disclosed that 110,000 applications had been received from Nigerians wishing to join the force, out of which a little over 1,000 would be shortlisted.
He warned applicants to note that application, which is done online, is free; hence no applicant should be deceived into paying money to fraudsters.