By Musa Umar Bologi
Nigerian Navy said it has intensified its ongoing clampdown on illegal crude oil thieves, illegal refineries and other maritime crimes.
A statement by Navy Director of Information Rear Admiral Christian Ezekobe said Nigerian Navy recorded impressive result in curtailing various forms of maritime crimes between December 19 and 24, 2016.
“This is even as the vigilance of the service personnel helped to avert the departure of more than 47 stowaways who attempted to leave the country illegally onboard some merchant vessels,” Rear Admiral Ezekobe said.
He said a patrol team deployed by NNS DELTA arrested the Captain of a merchant Vessel, one Mr Solomon Perebo, for allegedly involving in pipeline vandalism.
He said 23 illegal refinery sites were raided by the Base’s patrol teams mainly in Obodo, Ajosolo, Isaba and Olakpashe creeks in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, during the period.
He said about 396 Metric-Tons (MT) of suspected illegally refined AGO and about 1,060MT of suspected stolen crude oil were destroyed, 3 suspects linked to the sites were also apprehended, during the raid.
He added that a patrol team deployed by NNS JUBILEE also raided an illegal refinery site at Ibeno community in Ibeno LGA of Akwa Ibom State. He said the raid was conducted in conjunction with security partners and resulted to the destruction of two cotonou boats, and six drums containing suspected illegally refined AGO.
The Navy’s spokesperson also said operatives of NNS PATHFINDER have intercepted a wooden barge conveying about 110MT of suspected illegally refined AGO around the Federal Ocean Terminal/Federal Lighter Terminal (FOT/FLT) anchorage in Onne Rivers state.
He said the operation was sequel to the interception of another barge laden with about 50MT of suspected illegally refined AGO around Ikpokiri in Onne Rivers State.
He said:” Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas has commended the efforts of the personnel in driving the process of clearing illegal refinery sites and mitigating other security threats in the maritime areas.
“The CNS also noted the increasing attempts by some desperate persons to board merchant vessels illegally as stowaways. In view of this, the NN wishes to remind captains of merchant vessels and all seafarers to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement around their vessels in order to enhance the security of their vessels.”