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Troops rescue 15 abducted persons, uncover 48 illegal refineries

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Troops of Operation Delta Safe fighting illegal oil bunkering and sea piracy, among other maritime crimes, have rescued 15 abducted persons who were held hostage in five speedboats after an encounter.

Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, made this known in Abuja yesterday, saying, “Troops of Sector 2 while on routine patrol at Nembe Owelesu, Bayelsa State encountered sea pirates at Abuja Open Water-Nembe, who escaped into the creeks on sighting the troop’s gunboats.

“However, the troops rescued 15 persons held hostage in five speed boats by the hoodlums.

“Similarly, on 23 April 2020, acting on a tip off, the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder patrol team intercepted and arrested three barges (MV Rock 1, Julianah and an unnamed barge) laden with illegally refined petrol at the AGIP waterfront.

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“The team also arrested another barge laden with suspected stolen crude oil around Okochiri River entrance, just as troops of Sector 3, Operation Delta Safe conducted raids on four illegal refining sites along Dema Abby–Oputumbi–Nanabie–Promise Land–Otobie and Ogono general area.”

Continuing, he said, “Items discovered include seven boilers, nine storage tanks, eight metal tanks, one dugout reservoir all filled with stolen crude oil, eight metal tanks, 18 metal drums, 11 reservoir tanks filled with illegally refined petrol and kerosene.

“Also, two empty Cotonou boats, one generator set, one pumping machine, two welding machines, one filing machine, rolls of hose, and a speedboat mounted with 75 HP engine (used for illegal bunkering activities) were also discovered at the sites.

“Additionally, troops of Sector 3 on patrol intercepted a barge laden with suspected illegally refined petrol around Orutoru general area of Rivers State.”

Also, on April 25, 2020, following intelligence report, troops at Headquarters of Operation Delta Safe discovered an illegal refining site at Uzere Community in Isoko South Council Area of Delta State.

“Additionally, on April 23, 2020, troops of Sector 2 Operation Delta Safe deployed along KCTL pipeline at Odau Community in Abua/Odual Council Area of Rivers State arrested three suspected pipeline vandals around Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) pipeline.

“Overall, three weapons were recovered, 48 illegal refineries, 28 surface metal storage tanks, 60 cooking ovens and 18 Cotonou boats, among others, were discovered, while the troops seized 58,500 liters of kerosene, 11, 750 liters of diesel, 855,900 liters of petrol and an estimated 1, 507,000 liters of crude oil.”

“All rescued victims, recovered items and arrested suspects will be handed over to the appropriate authorities after preliminary investigations,” Enenche added.

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