28 April, 2014
TWO barges with 285 metric tons of stolen crude oil worth N50 million have been arrested by the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Pathfinder, off the coast of Bonny Island, Rivers State.
NNS Pathfinder Commanding Officer,
Forward Operating Base in Bonny,
Captain Hassan Dogara, told journalists yesterday that 11 suspected crude oil thieves were also arrested during the raid last week.Dogara explained that the two barges
and 55 tons of stolen crude oil were set ablaze during the raid.
He said security operatives from the
Army, Police, Immigration, Nigerian
Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) participated in the destruction of the product.
He, however, revealed that the naval personnel involved in the operation were able to save 230 tons of crude oil. “The troops, under my command on April 23, intercepted and arrested two wooden barges containing estimated 230 tons of suspected stolen crude oil during a routine patrol of its area of responsibility.
While our operatives approached the scene of the crime, the perpetrators fled. We were able to arrest 11 suspects afterwards,impounded five speed boats and five patrol engines. The barges, which were filled to the brim, had several leakages and so, spilled its content into the creeks and on the surrounding environment.
“In view of this development, troops
quickly moved in and saved 230 tons;
destroyed the barges with about 55 tons leftover of the product to avoid further degradation of the environment”, said Dogara. Dogara added that the remaining 230 tons of crude oil was still in possession of the Navy, pending directives from the
Eastern Naval Command.
“The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral
Usman Jubrin, had ordered strategic
deployment of troops on waterways to stop oil thieves, pipeline vandals and sea piracy in the Niger Delta”, he said.
The Commanding Officer explained that the Navy would not relent in conducting 24-hour surveillance of waterways along the country’s coastline, particularly in the Niger Delta, so as to stop crude oil theft and reckless attacks on its oil installations.
According to him, “The fight against oil theft is the collective responsibility of every Nigerian, and so, citizens must provide security agencies with timely information to ensure economic growth of the country.”