Crude Oil Theft: Navy Makes Arrests, Seizes $700,000 Worth Of Illegal Products

 

A file photo of a Nigerian Navy fleet.
A file photo of a Nigerian Navy fleet.

 

The Navy on Saturday said it has made several arrests and seized more than $700,000 worth of illegally refined products in the nation’s oil producing areas as part of its Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (OPDDB).

OPDDB was launched on April 1 in response to a national outcry over massive looting of the nation’s oil resources.

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, in March, said the country had lost about $3.27 billion worth of oil to vandalism and theft in the past 14 months.

READ ALSO: Procedures Govt Should Follow To Remove Petrol Subsidy – Moghalu

In a statement signed by spokesperson, Comodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the Navy said it was committed to enforcing a zero-tolerance for crude-oil theft and illegal bunkering in the oil-producing areas.

Read the Navy’s statement below:

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Navy launched Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (OPDDB) on 1 April, 2022, to check increasing Crude Oil Theft (COT) and related acts of economic sabotage in the South-South geopolitical zone. In furtherance of the operation therefore, several arrests and seizures have been recorded.

On 5, April 2022, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) PATHFINDER at Port-Harcourt intercepted 9 huge (‘Cotonou’) wooden boats laden with unspecified quantity of illegally refined AGO at Andoki Bille and other areas within her responsibility. Additionally, Illegal Refining Sites (IRS) with cooking pots, tanks and reservoirs were discovered in Ketoru Creek. The Base also arrested 2 STARZ marine BOATS DOROH 1 and DOROH 2 for providing illegal escort services within the Bonny maritime area without proper approvals.

Also on 7 April 2022, NNS ABA intercepted and arrested MV ROYAL DIADEM which was laden with suspected illegally refined AGO of unspecified quantity at Bonny area. The vessel was unable to provide appropriate documentation at the point of loading, hence MV ROYAL DIADEM is presently undergoing investigation.

Similarly, NNS DELTA at Warri located an IRS around Opumami and Asukpo Creek laden with about 520,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil. Also, at Egwa creek in Warri area, an IRS observed to contain several metallic ovens and storage tanks was destroyed. In addition, on 11 April 2022, Forward Operation Base (FOB) FORMOSO acting on intelligence reports raided Fununu Fishing Camp in Akassa, Bayelsa State, a known but suspected hideout for illegal refining operators and sea robbers. In the encounter, a dugout pit containing about 1,258bbls of stolen crude oil was deactivated. In the same vein and on the same day, FOB BONNY destroyed a wooden laden boat with unspecified quantities of suspected crude oil at Nabil creek in Rivers State.

Furthermore, on 15 April 2022, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa discovered 2 stores and assembly points used by illegal bunkerers at Onimbu and Ayama communities subsequently leading to the discovery of 6,000 litres of AGO. The Base also arrested 3 trucks each laden with 35,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO. Equally, NNS DELTA at Asugbo Creek in Warri deactivated an IRS around Egwa creek in Warri laden with 250,000 litres of stolen crude and about 30,000 litres of illegally refined AGO. Meanwhile, in Akwa-Ibom State, NNS JUBILEE intercepted and arrested a wooden boat laden with about 100 drums and sacks of product estimated at about 33,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO.

These arrests and seizures from the ongoing OPDDB have denied oil thieves and criminals of about N200 million and $700,000 worth of products within a period of roughly two weeks. It is indicative of the Nigerian Navy’s resolve to ensure zero tolerance for COT, illegal bunkering and related economic crimes in the Nation’s maritime area and the South-South geopolitical zone in particular. Economic saboteurs and their sponsors are therefore warned to desist from these unpatriotic and criminal acts.

Operation Delta Safe Destroys 80 Illegal Refineries

operation-delta-safeTroops of the joint operation Delta Safe, have intensified operations against crude oil theft and clamped down on 80 illegal refineries across Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states recently.

This was revealed in a statement signed by the Co-ordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, Major Abubakar Abdullahi.

In Bayelsa state, the troops, who patrolled around Obhoyohan and Ngiri Creeks in Nembe Local Government Area discovered and destroyed seven illegal refineries containing 150,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil.

Meanwhile, in Delta state, a network of six illegal refineries made up of four storage tanks, two dug out pits filled with products suspected to be stolen crude oil, were discovered around Sara Abileye Swamp in Warri south west LGA.

Additionally, another patrol at the Ajoloso Creek axis in Elume community destroyed a camp, housing eight illegal refineries.

Similarly, troops destroyed nine illegal refineries comprising of four ground pits and three metal tanks filled with products suspected to be stolen crude oil at Katu, near Camp 5 also in Warri south west.

This is in addition to seven illegal refineries earlier destroyed around Opunami Creek.

Another patrol conducted around Udu, Ughelli South Local Government discovered eight illegal refinery depots at Udu trailer park and destroyed 1200 drums laden with 140 metric tonnes of illegally refined diesel.

In Rivers state also, troops destroyed other 10 illegal refineries around Bolo in Bonny Local Government.

This is in addition to 25 others earlier raided at Creek 6 and Ijokiri in the same LGA.

Three suspects have however been arrested in connection with the illegalities, and are currently undergoing investigation

The statement further appealed to citizens to cooperate with security officials.

“Let me appeal to all law abiding citizen to continue to support Operation Delta Safe operational activities with valuable information.

“All hands must be on deck to frustrate the activities of economic saboteurs.

“Let me also advise the sponsors and operators of illegal refineries to desist from the economic sabotage which begets environmental pollution and other social problems. Our troops would not relent until our mandate is achieved”.

After Days Of Disappearance, Man Found Dead Inside Fuel Station’s Tanker

petrol-tankA private security guard attached to a fuel station, along Enerhen Road in Uvwie Local Council of Delta State, has been found dead inside a petrol tanker belonging to the owner of the station where he worked.

The middle-aged man identified as Emmanuel Obene, had been declared missing since last week Saturday, only to be found dead in the tanker when it was time to load fuel at one of the fuel depots near Warri Refinery.

The report of the incident was confirmed by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Zanna Ibrahim, when contacted on the telephone.

Sources at the fuel station told reporters that the security guard might have died in the process of trying to scoop fuel from the tanker.

The deceased had been working in the fuel station for some years and was the head of security before the unfortunate incident.

Around 1:00 p.m. local time on Monday, policemen from the Enerhen Divisional Police Station, with the help of sympathisers, were seen evacuating the remains of the victim and the bucket he was allegedly using to scoop fuel from the tanker.

Meanwhile, the body had been deposited in one of the mortuaries in Effurun, awaiting police investigations

Navy Deploys Security Stations, Gunboats To Choke Points In Niger Delta

Nigerian Navy, Niger Delta, Choke PointsThe Nigerian Navy has deployed maritime security stations with fully equipped surveillance gadgets and gunboats to choke points in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.

The Navy says the deployment is in line with efforts to sustain the fight against crude oil theft and other maritime crimes across the country.

The Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, made the disclosure during an operation visit to the latest deployment to Cawthorne Channel in Kalabari in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.

He noted that more stations would be deployed to the choke points which have been identified as routes for high rate of crude oil theft and other insecurity challenges.

In his remark, the Commander of NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Obi Egbuchulam, revealed that 120,000 litres of crude oil which he said was careful disguised has been uncovered by the station.

 

Suspected Oil Thieves Arrested With Over 65,000 Litres Of Crude Oil

crude oil thieftNine suspects allegedly involved in illegal oil bunkering and illegal transportation of crude oil have been arrested by the Nigerian Army in Imo State.

The arrest was made by the 34 Artillery Brigade Command in Owerri, the capital of Imo State

A spokesman for the Command, Captain Ajemasu Jingina, told reporters that the arrest was made through the command’s operation PULO Shield saddled with the responsibility of curbing illegal oil bunkering, illegal oil theft, pipeline vandalism and kidnapping of oil workers.

According to him, the command was able to intercept four different trucks along Owerri Port Harcourt expressway conveying products containing over 33,000 litres of AGO and crude oil suspected to be gotten from illegal oil bunkering.

Captain Jingina said most of the suspects were arrested along Owerri-Port Harcourt expressway and oil producing Oguta Local Government Area of the state.

He said a truck with registration number ABB 239 XA carting 10,800 litres of substance suspected to be AGO was loaded into a well-constructed metal and concealed with piles of two by four inches woods in order to bit the check of security operatives on the highway.

The Captain also disclosed that the officers of the Command also intercepted a Dangote Sino truck in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State loaded with 22,000 litres of substances suspected to be crude oil.

Some of the suspects maintained that the products were bought legally but concealed in the truck in order not to pay the normal fees and charges on the highway.

Apart from the suspected oil thieves, the Command also paraded suspected kidnappers and some with illegal firearms.

The command has promised to take up these cases and hand them over to the appropriate authorities for further prosecution.

It further called for more support from the public in providing necessary and timely information that would aid in combating crime and other criminal related activities in the state.

Okowa Condemns Crude Oil Theft, Tasks Navy On Control

Okowa Condemns Maritime Security Threats, Challenges NavyDelta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has criticised the activities of persons involved in crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism in Nigeria.

Speaking at the 2015 Nigerian Navy retreat in Asaba, the Delta State’s capital, Governor Okowa said their actions indicated a grave danger for the nation’s economy.

He said the activities of crude oil thieves also posed serious threats to the ecology of the Niger-Delta region and the family economy of those who depended on fisheries for their livelihood and sustenance.

The former lawmaker decried that Delta State had continued to lose huge revenues to oil thieves and pipeline vandals with severe consequences on the depleted resources of the state.

In his speech, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, urged senior officers and ratings of the Navy to be alive to their responsibility at all times.

Although, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas, admitted the challenges being faced by the Navy, he expressed optimism that his men would surmount the challenges as they arise.

The Chief of Policy and Plans of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, also said the two day retreat would among other areas, examine the emerging maritime security challenges and the Navy’s approach to solving them, attitudinal change and discipline of personnel as well as the inter-agency cooperation among the nation’s security forces.

Navy Moves To Combat Maritime Challenges

Nigerian navyThe Nigerian Navy says new strategies have been put in place to combat the challenges of local and international crude oil theft, drug trafficking, gun running, illegal migration and terrorism.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Friday, ahead of the 2015 Nigerian Navy Retreat, the Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, said the Nigerian maritime environment and the entire Gulf of Guinea region were witnessing complex security challenges.

He reaffirmed the Navy’s resolve to tackle the contemporary and emerging security challenges bedeviling the nation.

On Friday, the Navy arrested 11 crew members of a vessel, MT Camille, laden with about 4,000 metric tonnes of suspected stolen crude oil at Forcados in Delta State.

The Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy has also reiterated its commitment to increasing security on Nigeria’s water, to put an end to crime in the nation’s territorial boundaries.

To deepen efforts to end maritime challenges, the Navy has also entered into a partnership with the Nigerian Customs Service in the area of maritime security and exchange of information that will help in improving Nigeria’s economy.

Navy Arrests Suspected Crude Oil Thieves In Delta State

Crude-oil-theftThe Nigerian Navy has arrested 11 crew members of a vessel, MT Camille, laden with about 4,000 metric tonnes of suspected stolen crude oil at Forcados in Delta State.

Briefing reporters on Friday, the Flag Officer Commanding the Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Suleiman Apochi, reiterated that the Navy had zero tolerance for illegal oil bunkering.

According to him the arrest was made in continuation of the resolve to curtail crude oil theft in the maritime environment in the region where most of the nation’s crude is mined.

He said that preliminary investigations were ongoing and that the Nigerian navy had employed new technologies to curb activities of oil pipeline vandals.

Crude oil theft further depletes Nigeria’s revenue from crude oil in the face of dropped crude oil price.

Nigeria depends largely on crude oil for its revenue, having drifted away from agriculture which was the nation’s economic mainstay before the discovery of crude oil.

The government is, however, making efforts to diversify the economy, with focus returning to agriculture and untapped huge solid minerals.

Nigeria Seeks Partnership With UK To End Crude Oil Theft

Nigeria Seeks Partnership With UK To End Crude Oil TheftNigeria is seeking partnership with the British Government to combat crude oil theft through the tracking of movement of ships by the Global Insurance Company, Lloyds of London.

The Federal Government sought the partnership at a meeting with a delegation from the UK, led by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, on Tuesday.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija Ibrahim, at the meeting said Nigeria’s major areas of interest for partnership were economic development, corruption and security.

Mrs Ibrahim said that oil and gas had been the main areas in which the United Kingdom and Nigeria have had a lot of trade relationship. But unfortunately, now that the price of the crude oil has gone down, Nigeria is seeking to diversify in areas of agriculture and mining.

“We seek more trade relationships with the United Kingdom in the areas of agriculture and mining.

“There is no sound economy without security in the country, no investors will come to a country where there is consistent war and terrorism, no investor will be safe with insecurity and terrorism.

“Since the Boko Haram insurgency, there’s been less investment in Nigeria, but with the assistance of the United Kingdom, I think it will come a long way in helping to assist Nigeria in fighting Boko Haram menace,” she said.

The British High Commissioner, however, said that the British Government was working on returning stolen assets to Nigeria and was already encouraging investors to come to Nigeria while work is on to stop the insurgency in the north.

“Personally, we are looking forward to cooperating with Nigerian Government by bringing together Lloyds of London and the Nigerian Government to see what we can do in that area.

“On the economy, part of my job is to encourage British investors to come to Nigeria to invest in the country, to create jobs and employment.

“We are hopeful that the new economy team will provide the right economic environment and send a right signal and message that will encourage investors to come to Nigeria,” he said.

Mr Arkwright, further said that the oil theft issue would be looked into.

Navy Chief Warns Ship Owners Against Oil Theft, Sabotage

Ibok-Ete-Ekwe-IbasStiff sanctions will be meted out to ship owners who engage in crude oil theft or any illegal operations that sabotage the maritime sector, the Nigerian Navy on Wednesday.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, gave the warning during a meeting with top management of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria at the Naval Headquarters in Abuja.

Vice Admiral Ibas said: “A few members of the association still engage in illegal operations which undermine the necessary collaboration between the navy and ship owners to secure the maritime sector”.

The Navy Chief tasked the merchant navy to provide the Nigerian Navy with necessary information and intelligence available to them in the cause of their trade to aid the protection of Nigeria’s over 84,000 square nautical miles where he said over 85 per cent of Nigeria’s trade, including import and export was carried out.

“You see quite a lot that we cannot see and it has become imperative too that you assist us with the necessary information and intelligence that we need.

“I appeal to you to warn your members who try to undermine the state to desist from such acts that are inimical to the development of our nation,” he said.

Crude Oil Theft: Imo NSCDC Arrests Suspects At Illegal Fuel Dump Site

PIBSix suspects allegedly engaging in the buying and selling of adulterated and syphoned crude oil products at an illegal fuel dump in Owerri have been arrested by officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The suspects were arrested on Thursday after close surveillance by the Imo State Command of the NSCDC.

Crude oil theft has been on the increase in Nigeria, with the nation losing huge sum, a situation that the State Commandant of the security agency, Mr Pedro Ideba, said was sabotaging the economy.

‘Mini Refinery’

He told reporters that the suspects arrested at 21, Olokoro Street in Owerri had been closely watched by his men for a period of time.

“When concrete information got to us that a truck loaded with oil was about offloading at the wee hours of the night, my men went in and arrested the suspects.

“They are economic saboteurs who do not mean well for the people of the State and the entire nation,” Mr Ideba stated.

From outside, the building leaves no trace of the kind of activities going on inside. At the backyard of the bungalow in Aladinma Estate in Owerri was a ‘mini refinery’.

Heavy odour of crude comes out of the backyard area and the presence of heavy petrol tanks, petrol truck, different sizes of jerry cans and oil drums, electricity generating set, used cellophane bags tied up in sacks and oil products of different colours showed the activities that could be going on at the location.

The suspected owner of the business, who said she was a widow with five children, disagreed with the allegations levelled against her.

She told reporters that her business was genuine and that she had been doing the business for close to 10 years.

Her claim was also supported by her workers.

However, the NSCDC boss said investigations into the matter had started and that all found guilty would be prosecuted.