Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Nigeria Navy said it confiscated 18 million litres of stolen crude oil, 23.5 million litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) also known as diesel and 6.2 million litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, the Commander, NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Suleiman Ibrahim, said the continued efforts by security agencies led to the confiscation of the 23.5 million litres of AGO.
“This volume is split between crude stolen and production deferment (shut-ins) due to legitimate fear of losing substantial volumes in transit,” he said.
According to him, over 6.2 million litres of DPK and 18 million barrels of crude oil were confiscated.
Speaking after undertaking an aerial assessment of some hotspots along the Right of Way of the Trans-Niger Pipeline, he said NNS Pathfinder had conducted several missions in pursuant of the objectives of Operation Dakatar Dabarawo aimed at eradicating the menace of crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering activities within the base area of operations.
The missions conducted during the operations led by include Joint Air Recce, Riverine Anti COT, Swamp Buggy Ops and Rescue/Clearance Op on identified sea robbers/camps.
The commander, who conducted newsmen around the Nembe Creek Trunk Line leading up to the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal that had remained under force majeure since March 2022.
He noted that the activities of vandals and economic saboteurs severely affected Nigeria’s crude oil and natural gas production.
In a bid to check the activities of the saboteurs, the commander said the Navy had set up a new security architecture to serve as a solid response to detect, deter, and respond to the activities of vandals.
He re-echoed the position of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, who recently affirmed that there was a lot of disinformation about oil theft in the creeks of Niger Delta, explaining that, “oil theft meant siphoning crude oil from vandalised pipes, into barges while oil losses occur when there is non-production, especially, during shut-ins and force measures as the federal government does not earn the desired revenue it should.”
Ibrahim maintained that the Nigerian Navy was determined to put an end to the crude oil losses.
The NNS Pathfinder disclosed that about 215 illegal refineries referred to as cooking camps were deactivated during Operation Dakarar Dabarawo and still counting.
“We are working towards creating an environment free of any deviation or abuse. The illegal refineries are not refining anything, they are illegal cooking camps and we have already deactivated about 215 of them and counting every day.
“It is usually hard for us to trace these illegal refineries and that is why we have deployed helicopters which will aid our operatives to see these cooking camps clearly from above,” he said.
It was gathered that some residents of Rivers State had to relocate due to air and aquatic wildlife pollution and illness, a situation which was put under control following the operations of NNS Pathfinder.
“During the conduct of anti-crude oil theft operations tagged, “Operation Dakatar Dabarawo”, the Base established and sustained an aggressive patrol scheme to maximise previous gains achieved in anti-COT efforts.
“This had led to interception of boats laden with illegally cooked products coming into Port-Harcourt town from Bille, Cawthorne Channel, Ke and Bakana,” he said.
He reportedly stated that the base reinvigorated riverine patrol efforts to increase the ability of the security stations to provide increased maritime presence thereby denying freedom of action to miscreants transporting illegal products in the creeks.
He said the Base Tactical Riverine Assault Squadron had deactivated several illegal cooking camps at Bakana, Bille, Cawthorne Channel and Snake Creek, Buguma, Km45 and Ke.
The NNS Pathfinder also adopted the approach of using swamp buggies to degrade and dismantle the metal structures used in the camps as tanks, reservoirs and cooking pots. This was to ensure miscreants are severely discouraged and deterred.
“In conjunction with the support of HQ OPS under the auspices of Operation Octopus Grip, the Base Swamp Buggies have dismantled all infrastructure used for crude oil theft at Ke, Adamakiri, Tuma, Market Square, Bakana, Bukuma and some areas in Alakiri,” he said.