Nigerian Navy intercepts oil thieves, ships, stolen oil, others

Solomon Ezeme

The increasing rate of oil theft in Nigeria which costs the nation loss of about 150,000 barrels of crude oil daily within the Brass Bonny and Forcados terminals, is about to be addressed as the Nigerian Navy through its “Operation Dakatar Da Barawo’’ (OPDD) has intercepted several oil bunkers and thieves during its operations in the Niger Delta creeks.

Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, revealed this in a statement issued on Sunday.

The Naval Director revealed that his officials, within two weeks of operation in the creeks, were able to intercept some illegal crude oil refiners and their vessels (including ships, boats and vessels used to carry out various oil thefts) denying the criminals an estimated N200 million.

He said that “Operation Dakatar Da Barawo’’ on April 5, with the help of the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder (NNS), impounded 2 boats used in providing illegal escort services to oil thieves as it also intercepted 9 huge Cotonou-carved wooden boats laden with illegally-refined diesel in Andoki within the Bonny maritime area.

“At Ketoru Creek, naval officers intercepted some tanks, cooking pots and reservoirs used by illegal refiners.

Ayo-Vaughan said, “On April 7, NNS Aba intercepted a vessel, MV Royal Diadem, laden with suspected illegally-refined diesel in the Bonny area and arrested the crew.

“On April 15, NNS Soroh discovered two stores and assembly points used by illegal bunkerers at Onimbu and Ayama communities in Bayelsa and recovered 6,000 litres of diesel.”

According to Ayo-Vaughan, 520,000 litres of stolen crude oil was intercepted at Opumani and Asukpo Creeks while a vessel conveying some metallic ovens and storage tanks were destroyed by the Navy at Egwa Creek in Warri, Delta State.

The Fununu Fishing Camp in Akassa, Bayelsa, a suspected hideout for pirates which is also used for illegal refining of crude oil products, was raided by naval officials on April 11.

In Akwa-Ibom, NNS Jubilee was used to seize a wooden boat carrying about 100 drums and sacks of illegally refined diesel worth about 33,000 litres.

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