By Robert AKPAN, Senior Investigator Correspondent, Lagos/
LAGOS- THE Nigerian Navy NN has recorded tremendous successes in the fight against crude oil theft in the nation territorial waters through the launch of operation Dakatard Da Barawo in the beginning of this month.
A statement by the Director of Naval Information, Navy Commodore AO Ayo Vaughan made available to CrimeWorld magazine online said the success followed the launching of operation Dakartad Da Barawo adding that several Illegal Refining Sites were deactivated while thousands of litters of stolen Illegally Refined crude oil were recovered.
The statement reads in full: “In furtherance of Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (OPDDB) launched by the Nigerian Navy on 1 April 2022, the Service’s unrelenting effort to check increasing Crude Oil Theft (COT) and related acts of economic sabotage has recorded more arrests and seizures between 15-April 23, 2012 being the third week of the operation. On 15 April 2022, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DELTA at Warri, deactivated an Illegal Refining Site (IRS) around Sara creek.
The IRS had 16 ovens, 16 metal storage tanks and 3 wide pits filled with about 500,000 litres of illegally refined AGO, as well as 700,000 litres of stolen crude oil, a generator and 4 pumping machines. Also, an IRS at Asugbo creek in Warri was discovered with 6 ovens, 12 metal storage tanks and 5 large pits all containing about 600,000 litres of stolen crude oil including 200,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and about 150,000 litres of sludge.
Similarly, sequel to series of air reconnaissance, Forward Operating Base (FOB) FORMOSO in Bayelsa State on 19 April 2022, raided an IRS at Ereweibio creek in Brass LGA. Accordingly, 7 large cooking ovens, 10 large metal storage tanks and drums all laden with about 400,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 20,000 litres of suspected illegally refined PMS were discovered.
The site also had 5 large pits holding approximately 700,000 litres of stolen crude oil. Equally, 2 pumping machines, one gasoline generator, one submersible pump and one chainsawmachine were discovered at the site and destroyed in situ. Meanwhile, on 21 April 2022, an IRS at Lelemu creek in Warri South-West was discovered During the operation, 19 ovens, 26 metal storage tanks and 2 dugout pits
laden with about 250,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and 50,000 litres of illegally refined AGO were destroyed.To ensure effective deactivation of IRS, NNS DELTA on 21 April 2022 conducted swamp buggy operations during which an earlier identified IRS around Egwa creek in Warri was destroyed. During the operation, 16 ovens, 31 metal storage tanks and 7 large pits all filled with about 850,000 litres of stolen crude oil were equally deactivated.
Relatedly, on 22 April 2022, around Lelemu creek in Warri South West LGA of Delta State, personnel under NNS DELTA again discovered 22 IRS ovens, 12 metallic storage tanks and 5 large pits all containing about 150,000 litres of stolen crude oil. At another IRS off Lelemu creek, 19 ovens, 42 storage tanks and 14 large pits containing about 300.000 litres of stolen crude oil, as well as approximately 200.000 litres of illegally refined AGO, 100.000 litres of illegally refined DPK and 100,000 litres of suspected crude oil sludge were all destroyed.
In a related but unprecedented development, NNS LUGARD at Kogi State in the course of OPDDB discovered an IRS on 22 April 2022, at a location off Akili-Ozizor community of Ogbaru LGA, Anambra State. During the operation, 4 locally fabricated ovens, 7 metal storage tanks, 4 large pits of which 2 were for storage of about 48,000 Litres of stolen crude oil were all destroyed.
On the same day. NNS VICTORY in Calabar raided tanker garage along Harbour road in the city and seized a storage tank containing about 45,000 Litres of suspected illegally refined AGO. Also, a tanker laden with 33,000 Litres of suspected locally refined AGO was seized and the owner was arrested. Furthermore, about 58 drums of locally refined AGO were also seized.
Additionally, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa, on Saturday 23 April 2022 intercepted a wooden boat at Otuokpot Area along Kolo creek. The wooden boat was laden with 60,000 Litres of illegally refined AGO together with over 100 sacks of same product. Items on the boat which included one pumping machine, one Yamaha 40HP outboard engine and one locally made boat Anchor with the products were destroyed at Ogbia waterside. The Base also conducted a search on a Market Boat heading for St Nicolas Axis from Akassa area. About 2,500 litres of suspected illegally refined products stored in gallons and sacks were hidden inside the boat.
Accordingly, same were evacuated for destruction. Likewise on the same day, personnel under NNS DELTA on patrol around Jones creek in Warri South West LGA raided an IRS and discovered 33 ovens, 42 metal storage tanks and 7 wide pits all filled with about 1,200,000 litres of stolen crude oil. 250.000 litres of illegally refined AGO and about 100,000 litres of sludge. Further combing of the area off Jones creek led to the discovery of another IRS with 5 ovens, 2 metal storage tanks and 8 large pits with about 150,000 litres of sludge. Both IRS off Jones creek with the discovered items and products were destroyed in situ.
Succinctly, Week 3 of OPDDB saw the seizure of over 6.000.000 litres of products valued over N3 Billion from oil thieves and economic saboteurs. The migration by operators of IRS from the South South geopolitical zone to the South East also come to the fore. This development will in no way, deter the Nigerian Navy from ensuring zero tolerance for COT IRS, illegal bunkering and related economic crimes in the Nation’s Maritime environment and adjoining territory.”
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