2 MARCH, 2014
Troops and ratings of the 3, 19 and 29 Battalions, 343 Regiment, the Gunboat Detachment of the Army Amphibious Forces and NNS Delta operating across Sectors 1 and 2 of the Joint Task Force (Operation Pulo Shield) Area of Responsibility have scuttled a total of 17 illegal oil distillation sites and 47 Cotonou boats (giant wooden boats used for the bulk transportation of stolen petroleum products by illegal bunkerers).
In a press release issued and signed by the Media Coordinator of the Joint Task Force, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, and made available to Beegeagle’s Blog, it was revealed that these successes were attained in the wake of intensive operations which spanned the period 21-28 Februaty, 2014. The full text of the press statement reads:
“Anti oil theft patrol troops of 3, 19 Battalions and NNS Delta deployed in the Sector 1 area of responsibility of the Joint Task Force OPERATION PULO SHIELD in Edo and Delta states have uncovered and scuttled 5 illegal oil distillation sites and 40 Cotonou boats used by oil thieves operating with 300 metal tanks, 64 plastic storage tanks, 72 drums, 68 cooking ovens, 4 pumping machines and 1 Lister Generator at Takular, Otegele 1, Okpogbene and Ovulaiye general area of Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state. The troops also intercepted a locally made tug boat conveying 30 drums of stolen petroleum at Ajide along Benin River in Edo state.
“The Cotonou boats and other apparatus were destroyed in situ in line with JTF mandate, while the 6 suspects nabbed during the operation have been moved to the Tactical Headquarters of the Battalions for preliminary investigation.
In another anti illegal oil bunkering operation, Operatives of 29 Battalion and Gun Boat Detachment patrolling the water ways and creeks along Soku–Ofumakiri, Bolo, Oloma and Isaka of Rivers state in the Sector 2 area of responsibility of the Joint Task Force have clamped down on 4 active illegal refineries operating with 40 cooking ovens, 30 plastic storage tanks, 50 drums, 1 welding machine, 2 pumping machines and a 45 KVA generator. The troops also intercepted a Cotonou boat containing 86 drums laden with illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (AGO). The illegal refineries and the apparatus discovered were scuttled in situ, while the two suspects arrested in the sting operation are currently assisting investigators at the Sector 2 Headquarters.
Meanwhile, troops of 343 Regiment patrolling the waterways of Bayelsa state have shutdown 8 illegal crude oil distillation sites and scuttled 6 Cotonou boats operated by oil thieves in Tebidaba and Igbematoru communities of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa state. The operatives also scuttled 69 metal drums and 2 pumping machines used by the oil thieves to operate the illegal refineries.
During the entire operation which lasted from 21 to 28 February 2014, eight suspects were arrested for oil theft related offences. They are currently undergoing preliminary investigations and will subsequently be handed over to relevant prosecuting agencies.”