26 May, 2013
Troops of 3 Battalion, 343 Regiment and 146 Battalion operating in Sector 1 and Sector 2 of the Joint Task Force’s Area of Responsibility(AOR) have, in a series of raids and patrols across the Niger Delta, arrested an oil vessel, two barges and forty five open boats for suspected complicity in oil theft and illegal bunkering operations in the region.
These details were contained in a press release made available to Beegeagle’s Blog today and signed by the Media Coordinator of the Joint Task Force(Operation Pulo Shield), Lt. Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu. The statement reads:
“A vessel christened ERISHNA DOLPHIN suspected for oil theft has been impounded by troops of the Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield in recent anti illegal oil bunkering water patrols along Southern Ijaw creeks of Bayelsa state. The vessel which was intercepted by troops of 343 Regiment of Sector 2 JTF along Obi Creek in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area has been secured by operatives of the JTF pending recovery to Brass terminal.
“Eleven oil theft suspects operating two barges laden with 7,500 and 500,000 litres of adulterated Automated Gas Oil illegally distilled from stolen crude oil have been arrested respectively at Bakana creek and Abonema water front in Rivers State by troops of 146 Battalion of JTF, Sector 2 for engaging in oil theft activities. The barges which are now secured at Abonema Wharf were intercepted during one of the anti-oil theft patrols carried out by Gun Boat troops of the Battalion. The suspects have been taken into custody by Headquarters Sector 2 to help in preliminary investigations, after which they will be handed over to an appropriate agency for prosecution.
“In similar anti illegal oil bunkering and anti pipeline vandalism operations, a total of 21 illegal oil distilleries and 41 pumping machines have been scuttled in Ondo, Edo and Delta states. Fifteen of the illegal distilleries were discovered along Takula Creek and Itakpe at the boundary between Ondo and Delta states where 40 steel surface tanks and 25 pumping machines used in the illegal trade were scuttled in situ. Other items scuttled at the site include 426 plastic tanks and 10,645 drums used to store adulterated Automated Gas Oil distilled from stolen crude oil.
“Three other camps used for illegal distillation of crude oil were also scuttled in Gbelebu village in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo state, while three of the illegal oil distillation camps which had 138 plastic tanks of 7500 litres capacity each, 23 steel surface tanks, 16 pumping machines, 3 electricity generating set, 1 welding machine were discovered by JTF patrol Team of 3 Battalion, Sector 1 at Otumara, Obe/Jesse communities of Delta state.
“Forty five open boats conveying stolen petroleum products were also intercepted by troops of 3 Battalion, Sector 1, along Okogho and Ajosolo in Jesse, Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta state and Agedagba Akotobo, Itakpe Bolowo of Ondo State.
During the entire operation which was carried out from 17 to 24 May 2013, a total of 21 suspects were arrested for oil theft and related crimes.”