Troops of the 343 Regiment, 29 Battalion and 3 Battalion operating under the auspices of the Joint Task Force (OP PULO SHIELD) in the Niger Delta have scuttled no fewer than 135 illegal crude oil distillation camps, impounded a wooden barge and 35 giant ‘Cotonou’ boats used for illegal bunkering.
These actions represented the highpoint of anti oil theft operations in the waterways of the Niger Delta conducted between the 22nd and 30th days of November 2013.
These details were contained in a press release dated 1 December, 2013 and made available to Beegeagle’s Blog. Signed by the Media Coordinator of the Joint Task Force (OP PULO SHIELD), Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, the statement reads thus:
“In Bayelsa state, anti oil theft patrol team of 343 Regiment operating in the Sector 2 area of responsibility of the Joint Task Force (JTF) OPERATION PULO SHIELD have uncovered and cracked down on 134 illegal crude oil distillation camps, scuttling 34 Cotonou boats, 36 pumping machines and 12 illegal oil dumps used by oil thieves in Igbematoru, Oyeregbene, Lasukugbere, Mbikiba and Ewesusho communities in Southern Ijaw, Brass and Nembe Local Government Areas of Bayelsa state.
Some of the camps were being regenerated by the oil thieves before the crackdown. A locally fabricated steel barge containing product suspected to be illegally distilled Automated Gas Oil (AGO) was also intercepted by the patrol team around Nembe 2 flow station. The barge has been towed to Nembe 1 flow station for safe custody.
“While in Rivers state, a wooden barge and two wooden boats conveying unascertained quantity of adulterated Automated Gas Oil were rounded up by troops of 29 Battalion patrolling the waterways of Alakri-Okirika axis in Okirika Local Government Area. The wooden barges have been recovered and secured at Peterside houseboat.
In the same vein, anti oil theft squad of 3 Battalion, operating in Sector 1 area of responsibility of the JTF OPERATION PULO SHIELD have uncovered and shut down an illegal crude oil distillation camp at Orhobo village in Jesse community, Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta state. During the operation, the squad also arrested a notorious oil theft suspect, Romeo Ogun with the assistance of Nakus surveillance group at Odidi II, near Takula in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state.
The suspect was apprehended in the act, while towing a Cotonou boat containing illegally sourced crude oil with a motorized fibre boat. The suspect and the items recovered from him have been taken into custody to assist in preliminary investigations before he will be handed over to an appropriate agency for prosecution.
The anti oil theft operations lasted from 22 – 30 November 2013.”