The Nigerian Navy has arrested six persons suspected to be engaged in pipeline vandalism and illegal oil refining in Rivers State.
In a statement issued Thursday, the navy said the suspects were picked up from a large warehouse at Ogbogoro Uzoba waterside, around Choba in Port Harcourt.
“The warehouse is suspected to serve as a storage facility for illegally refined products,” the naval headquarters said in the statement by Christian Ezekobe, a Commodore and Director of Information.
“Also discovered in the facility include three wooden boats containing about 20,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO, 350 drums, several GP and metal tanks ranging from 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 litres storage capacity as well as seven pumping machines.”
The arrest came as President Muhammadu Buhari threatened to descend heavily on pipeline vandals in the same manner as Boko Haram terrorists.
The navy also said a patrol team from NNS DELTA discovered and destroyed two illegal refineries in Jones creek in Warri South West local Government Area of Delta State.
The items destroyed at the site, according to Mr. Ezekobe, include a Cotonou boat laden with about 66,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil, 4 GP storage tanks measuring 500 litres each.
“The GP tanks contain 2,000 metric tons of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO,” said Mr. Ezekobe.
“Other items discovered at the site are 50 Jerry cans measuring 50 litres each containing 2.5 MT of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO, pumping machine, large metal tanks and a Cotonou boat.”
The statement further said a Naval Patrol team deployed from NNS BEECROFT intercepted a gang which specialized in vandalizing and siphoning petroleum products from NNPC pipelines in the Atlas cove area.
The gang were arrested by a naval team on routine surveillance patrol of the area who discovered they were loading PMS from the NNPC Single point mooring at Atlas cove.
“On sighting the naval team, the suspects jumped into the water to evade arrest,” said Mr. Ezekobe.
“In view of this, the patrol team confiscated the equipment they use for the illicit act including a wooden Cotonou boat laden with 245 empty drums measuring 250 litres each, 91 empty Jerry cans measuring 25 litres each, and 21 drums of 250 litres each loaded with stolen Premium Motor Spirit.”
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