Nigerian Navy Cracks Down on Crude Oil Thieves, Illegal Refineries

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By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja

The Nigerian Navy (NN) said on Tuesday that its men had continued the crackdown on criminals within the maritime domain in line with the resolve to eliminate all forms of economic sabotage, crude oil theft and other criminal activities. In a press statement by its Director of Information, Commodre Christian Ezekobe, the Navy said that the patrol team deployed by NNS Jubilee had arrested 13 suspects allegedly involved in illegal bunkering activities around Ibeno area of Akwa Ibom State.

‘’The suspects were arrested in three Cotonou boats. Two of the boats were carrying 55 and 48 drums of suspected illegally refined AGO respectively, while the third Cotonou boat was carrying about 188 empty drums. However the suspects and exhibits have been handed over to officials of NSCDC for necessary action’’, the Navy stated. ‘’Similarly, the patrol team deployed by FOB ESCRAVOS has arrested three persons suspected to be oil thieves. The team also destroyed 6 Cotonou boats carrying suspected stolen crude oil around Sandhill Creek in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. More so, the team recovered 2 wooden boats laden with 300 Metric Tones (MT) of stolen crude oil and a pumping machine during the raid.’’ Meanwhile, the Navy added that a patrol team deployed by NNS PATHFINDER had raided Adokiakiri Creek around Okirika axis and Dutch Island at Onne in Rivers State. During the operation, the Team arrested 8 suspects and destroyed 4 speedboats laden with 100 MT of illegally refined AGO.

The statement added, ‘’Two barges containing 500MT of suspected stolen crude oil were also destroyed by the team. In another raid, the Patrol Team also arrested three suspects onboard MV OMETE VI and a large wooden barge laden with about 120MT of illegally refined AGO around FOT Onne in Rivers State.’’ In a similar case, the Navy further stated that NNS DELTA patrol team raided an illegal refinery site at Saba Creek in Warri South LGA of Delta State, saying during the operation, a suspect was arrested while the illegal refinery site and a Cotonou boat laden with about 82MT of suspected stolen crude oil were destroyed in situ.