May 30, 2024

CNS extends ODS for eradication of oil theft in Niger Delta

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Ilenre Irele

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, has said he had extended the timeline of Operation Delta Sanity by another 90 days, for the total eradication of crude oil theft and maritime crimes in the Niger Delta.

Ogalla said the second phase of operation Delta Sanity was imperative following the successes recorded by the operation in the last three months, which include the recovery of huge barrels of stolen crude oil, illegally refined petroleum products and increased oil production by SPDC, NNPC Ltd and other oil operators.

The CNS speaking in NNS Pathfinder Port Harcourt during the assessment of Operation Delta Sanity, listed the achievements of the operation in the last 90 days to include improvement of air quality and reduction of black soot due to continuous clamp down on illegal oil refineries.

He recalled that Operation Delta Sanity was launched on 6th January 2024, to combat crude oil theft and other criminalities in the Niger Delta area, in line with the President and Commander in Chief directive to eradicate oil theft and ramp up Nigeria’s oil production towards an improved economy.

“So far, operation Delta Sanity has been a success. The operation has denied oil thieves and vandals across various parts of the Niger Delta freedom of action in our maritime environment.

“From Bayelsa to Ondo State, Rivers to Akwa Ibom State and beyond with the recovery of massive quantities of stolen crude oil products, dismantling of illegal refining sites, arrests of suspects, seizure of stolen products, all which have underscored the resolve of the Nigerian Navy to stamp out crude oil theft.

“Cumulatively, Operation Delta Sanity has recorded successes which include seizeď 95 wooden boats, deactivated 119 storage tanks used for illegal refining sites, and deactivated several dugout pits. We have also recorded successes in terms of seizing fibre boats, arrested vehicles and arrested over 74 suspects.

“Of note are the recent arrests of over 14 large motor tanker vessels, including MT Harbour Spirit. It should be recalled that one of the vessels, MT SweetMary was arrested at about 174nautical miles off Nigeria’s coast which underscores Nigeria’s navy determination to police the backwaters and also the coastal zones and pursue any erring vessel into the blue waters as far as necessary.

“I wish to note that the arrest of MT Sweet Mary was conducted in a very professional way involving hot pursuit of this vessel even beyond our maritime domain. It is on this note of remarkable success that I deem it fit to extend the duration of Operation Delta Sanity for another 90 days.

“These successes did not come without their own cost in terms of materials and personnel. We have recorded incidences of loss of our gallant officers and men during the course of this fight, of note is our personnel who died at NNS Soroh while discharging their duties in combating this illegal activity in our maritime environment. I am happy to state here that their memory will not be forgotten.”

The Naval Chief commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff for all the support accorded the Nigerian Navy to achieve the feat.

“I want to state here that the successes we have achieved wouldn’t have been possible without the support of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has provided his unwavering support to the Armed Forces and the Nigerian Navy in particular.

“Mr President has given us a marching order and the go-ahead to eradicate this menace of oil theft without any restraint.”

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