The Central Naval Command, CNC, Yenagoa on Saturday announced the seizure of a vessel laden with 600,000 litres of suspected illegally refined automotive gas oil also known as diesel.
A statement issued by Lieutenant Commander Edward Yeibo on behalf of Flag Officer Commanding, CNC, Rear Admiral Mohammed Garba, said two of the four suspected oil thieves were arrested while loading the barge with diesel.
The statement made available in Yenagoa reiterated Navy’s Zero Tolerance of crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering and other sundry crimes in the Niger Delta Region.
According to Mr. Yeibo, the operation which yielded the feat, is in line with the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas’ strategic directive to the Navy.
“The Commander Nigerian Navy Ship SOROH, Commodore Habib Usman said a barge and 5 wooden boats laden with about 600,000 metric tons suspected to be illegally refined Automated Gas Oil and 2 suspects were arrested.
“The suspects were arrested by the Nigerian Navy Ship SOROH around Beama community in Nembe Local Government Area in the waterways within Bayelsa.
“The wooden boats were suspected to be used to convey the illegally refined Automated Gas Oil from the refining points to the barge for loading.
“As of the time of the arrest one of the boats had finished trans-loading its product into the barge.
“Consequently, the personnel of Forward Operating Base FORMOSO with gunboats and tug boat towed the barge to its jetty for further investigation.
“However, the wooden boats were destroyed, also the two suspects are in custody for preliminary investigation and prosecution,” the statement read in part.
The statement also quoted Mr. Garba as assuring that the Navy will make the sea lane of communication accessible for all legitimate users and frustrate maritime criminalities in its area of responsibility.
Mr. Garba, according to the statement, reiterated that there will be no hiding place for crude oil thieves as the Navy will continue to sustain patrols in the maritime environment.