Nigerian Navy Arrests Thieves, Vessel with Oil Worth $315,500
By Sunday Elom
Aside from the constant oil spillage and fluctuation of crude oil price in the global oil market, which has affected the Nigerian economy negatively due to the country’s high dependency on oil as its major source of revenue, the country’s oil has continued to experience a high rate of oil theft and vandalism.
Although Nigeria seems to have raised its bar on fighting oil theft and vandalism, the crime still flourishes particularly in the nation’s oil seat – the Niger Delta region.
However, with the efforts of security agents, several illegal refineries have been busted while vessels containing crude oil worth millions of naira have been seized from illegal possessors.
One of such fits by security operatives is the arrest of a vessel with illegally acquired 4,402 barrels of crude oil in Bayelsa State by the Nigerian Navy.
According to the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) SOROH, Commodore Patrick Effah, the vessel named MT TIS IV was arrested along the Akassa River of Bayelsa State on December 6, 2021.
“Following the arrest, the vessel was found to be carrying about 700,000 litres which is about 603 metric tons or 4,402 barrels of illegally sourced crude oil worth about $315,500 (N148,281,000) without the requisite approval for such cargo.
“I must add that the Navy went further to identify the source of the stolen crude and was led to the spot where about four dugout pits containing an unspecified quantity of crude oil were discovered, which is much more than what was found on the vessel,” Commodore Effah said.
Explaining further, the naval boss said that the discovered storage pits had been reported to the relevant oil and gas company for evacuation.
He noted that the arrest of MT TIS IV was among the numerous successes against oil theft in Nigeria which the Nigerian Navy has made recently. He therefore warned criminals and economic saboteurs to give up on their nefarious acts as there is no hiding place for them in the country.
Commodore Effah who reiterated the Nigerian Navy’s readiness to crack down on oil criminals said that the navy’s maritime domain awareness facilities were well equipped to detect and flag vessels engaged in every aspect of maritime crimes within the country waters and beyond.
According to him, the December 6 arrest marked another success of the operative’s ongoing Operation Quiet Waters aimed at dominating and securing Nigeria’s maritime environment for economic activities to flourish.
He reaffirmed that the NNS SOROH, in line with the Chief of Naval Staff strategic directive for naval bases to bring all forms of maritime crimes within the nation’s waters to an end, has been relentlessly fishing out and arresting perpetrators of crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and other maritime crimes in the state.