Nigerian Navy Intercepts 9 Cotonou Wooden Boats with Stolen Crude Oil

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Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder said it has intercepted nine giant ‘Cotonou’ wooden boats loaded with an unspecified quantity of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) at Andoki, Bille in Port-Harcourt and other areas.

The Navy spokesman, Commodore Olukayode Ayo-Vaughan, who made this known to newsmen said that NNS has made several arrests and seized many stolen crude oil, while Illegal Refining Sites (IRS) with cooking pots, tanks and reservoirs were discovered in Ketoru Creek.

Commodore Ayo-Vaughan added that NNS also arrested two STARZ marine boats: DOROH 1 and DOROH 2 for providing illegal escort services within the Bonny maritime area without proper approvals.

Recall that the Nigerian Navy launched Operation Dakatar Da Barawo (OPDDB) on April 1, 2022, to intensify the fight against the increasing crude oil theft and vandalism in the oil-rich Niger Delta Region of the country.

“Also, on April 7, 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 April 11, 2022,” Commodore Ayo-Vaughan said.

It was further gathered that Forward Operation Base (FOB) FORMOSO while acting on intelligence reports raided Fununu Fishing Camp in Akassa of Bayelsa State which is known as a hideout for crude oil thieves and sea robbers, where the naval operatives uncovered a pit containing about 1,258bbls of stolen crude oil.

“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 April 15, 2022, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa discovered two stores and assembly points used by illegal bunkerers at Onimbu and Ayama communities subsequently leading to the discovery of 6,000 litres of AGO,” Commodore Ayo-Vaughan also disclosed.

The Navy spokesperson further revealed that “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 with about 50,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and 150,000 litres of suspected sludge. On the same day also, the Base 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.”

According to him, “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 2 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.”

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