1 July, 2013
Troops of 3 Battalion, 146 Battalion, 343 Regiment and 19 Battalion active in Sectors 1 and 2 of the JTF area of responsibility have scuttled a number of illegal oil distillation sites, loading points, in addition to seizing two self-propelled barges and twenty two giant bunkering boats, otherwise known as ‘Cotonou boats’. A total of 25 suspects were also arrested during the series of raids which took place across the Niger Delta.
These details were contained in a press release made available to Beegeagle’s Blog today and signed by the Media Coordinator of the JTF(OPPS), Lt Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu. The statement reads:
“Operatives of the Anti-Oil-Theft patrol team of 146 Battalion of Sector 2 of the JTF have intercepted two self-propelled barges prowling around Bonny anchorage in Rivers State without the necessary registration documents indicative of their activities in the waterways of the Niger Delta. The arrest was made during a recent anti-oil-theft patrol operation that saw the troops comb the general maritime area of Peterside, Kalaibiama community, Bonny anchorage and Onne.
“During the interrogations that followed, the crew members on board the barges christened MT ASKJA and MT IBINABO failed to tender the required documents and could not explain their mission in the waterways. The six crew members and the barges have been taken into custody for preliminary investigations.
In another operation, Anti-Oil-Theft patrol team of 343 Regiment of Sector 2 of the JTF operating along Akassa and Sangana Rivers of Bayelsa State have intercepted 7 Cotonou boats (2 at Igbematoru, 3 at Oyeregbene and 1 each at Lagosbene and Mbikiba) containing stolen crude oil. During the operation, the troops also discovered 3 new illegal crude oil loading points, one each at Igbematoru, Oyeregbene and Mbikiba respectively.
“The Commanding Officer 343 Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Adamu Mukhtar has called on Nigerian Agip Oil Company to carry out an assessment on the discovered illegal loading points with a view to sealing them point.
“In Delta State, troops of 3 Battalion Anti-Oil-theft patrol squad of Sector 1 of the JTF on patrol have discovered and scuttled 9 illegal crude oil distillation camps in Gbekebor, Okpogbene, Issaba, Agedeben and Ajudaibo general area in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State where illegal bunkerers connected a pipe from a wellhead to a large Cotonou boat. Ten large plastic reservoirs, 20 drums, 15 metal surface tanks, 25 crude oil cooking ovens, 11 pumping machines, 5 welding machines and several networks of hoses were also scuttled in the camps. The troops also arrested 6 suspected illegal oil bunkerers with 6 Cotonou boats loaded with product suspected to be illegally distilled Automated Gas Oil.Eleven Cotonou boats were also scuttled by the patrol team at Aruton Open River also in Warri South West in Delta State.
“In the same vein, Anti-Oil-Theft patrol troops of 19 Battalion of Sector 1 of the JTF at Ekpemu community in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State have arrested two suspects caught reactivating a previously scuttled illegal oil bunkering and crude oil distillation camp. The suspects were arrested with two pumping machines and one welding machine while attempting to resuscitate the camp.
“In another development, the patrol team also arrested eleven suspects conveying illegally distilled petroleum products in 3 Cotonu boats at Otuama flow station, Warri North of Delta state.
During the entire Anti Oil Theft operations twenty five oil theft suspects were taken into custody for preliminary investigations and would subsequently be handed over to relevant prosecuting security agencies at the conclusion of the investigation.”