The Nigerian Navy over the weekend said ‘Operation Dakata Da Barawo’ (OPDDB) intercepted N613 million worth of stolen and illegally refined crude oil Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), also known as diesel oil thieves and other criminals in the Niger Delta.
In a statement, the Nigerian Navy’s National Public Relations Officer, Commodore Kayode Ayo-Vaughan, said the operation was an indication of the Nigerian Navy’s determination to ensure zero tolerance for crude oil theft. (COT), illegal bunkering and other related economic crimes in the national maritime space and the South-South geopolitical zone in particular.
Ayo-Vaughan, however, warned economic saboteurs and sponsors to refrain from unpatriotic and criminal acts in the region, saying that 200 million naira and 700,000 dollars (413 million naira) of products had been intercepted in two weeks.
“These ongoing OPDDB arrests and seizures deprived oil thieves and criminals of approximately 200 million naira and $700,000 worth of proceeds over a two-week period. This speaks to the determination of the Nigerian Navy to ensure zero tolerance for TOC, illegal bunkering and related economic crimes in the maritime zone of the country and the South-South geopolitical zone in particular,” he said.
Giving a breakdown of seizures made during the weeks under review, Ayo-Vaughan, said: “On 5th April 2022, the Nigerian Navy (CNNS) vessel, Pathfinder in Port-Harcourt intercepted nine huge (‘Cotonou’) wooden boats loaded with unspecified amount of legally refined AGO in Andoki, Bille and other areas in its area of responsibility.
“Additionally, Illegal Refining Sites (IRS) with pots, tanks and reservoirs have been discovered at Ketoru Creek. The base also arrested two STARZ Marine Boats, DOROH 1 and DOROH 2 for providing illegal escort services in the Bonny Sea Area without proper approvals. Additionally, on April 7, 2022, NNS ABA intercepted and detained the MV ROYAL DIADEM which was loaded with AGO suspected of being illegally refined in an undetermined quantity in the Bonny area.
“The vessel was unable to provide proper documentation at the point of loading which is why the MV ROYAL DIADEM is currently under investigation. Similarly, NNS DELTA in Warri has located an IRS around of Opumami and Asukpo Creek loaded with approximately 20,000 liters of suspected stolen crude oil.
“Additionally, at Ewa Creek in the Warri region, an IRS which contained several metal furnaces and storage tanks was destroyed. Additionally, on 11 April 2022, Forward Operating Base (FOB) FORMOSO, acting on the basis of intelligence reports, raided the Fununu Akassa fishing camp in Bayelsa State, a hideout known but suspected illegal refinery operators and offshore robbers. During the encounter, an underground pit containing approximately 1,258 barrels of stolen crude oil was deactivated.
However, the Navy spokesman also disclosed that Forward Operating Base (FOB), Bonny also destroyed a boat loaded with timber with unspecified amounts of suspect crude oil while NNS SOROH in Yenagoa discovered 2 shops and assembly points used by illegal pimps.
“In the same vein and on the same day, FOB BONNY destroyed a boat loaded with timber with unspecified quantities of suspect crude oil at Nabil creek in Rivers State.
“Furthermore, on April 15, 2022, NNS SOROH in Yenagoa discovered 2 stores and assembly points used by illegal pimps in Onombu and Avams communities, subsequently resulting in the discovery of 6,000 liters of AGO The Base also stopped 3 trucks each loaded with 35,000 liters of suspected illegally refined AGO.Similarly, NNS DELTA at Asugbo Creek in Warri disabled an IRS with approximately 50,000 liters of suspected stolen crude oil and 140,000 liters of suspected sludge.
“On the same day, the base disabled an IRS around Egwa stream in Warri loaded with 250,000 liters of stolen crude and approximately 30,000 liters of illegally refined AGO.
“In AkwaIbom State, NNS JUBILEE intercepted and detained a wooden boat loaded with approximately 100 barrels and bags of product estimated at around 33,000 liters of suspected illegally refined AGO,” it said.