Operatives of Nigerian Navy’s “Operation Dakatar Da Barawo’’ (OPDDB) have seized several ships and wooden boats engaged in crude oil theft.
They also arrested their crew members, seized facilities and arrested illegal crude oil refiners.
Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, who disclosed in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja stated that the Navy’s NNS Pathfinder intercepted nine huge Cotonou-carved wooden boats laden with illegally-refined diesel at Andoki, in the creeks on April 5.
The Navy inaugurated OPDDB on April 1 to check crude oil theft and other acts of economic sabotage in the South-South geopolitical zone.
Its operatives also seized cooking pots, tanks and reservoirs from an illegal crude oil refining site at Ketoru Creek.
He added that the NNS Pathfinder also impounded two boats used in providing illegal escort services to oil thieves within the Bonny maritime area.
“On April 7, NNS Aba intercepted a vessel, MV Royal Diadem, laden with suspected illegally-refined diesel in Bonny area and arrested the crew.
“The vessel was unable to provide appropriate documentation about the originating point of loading of the product,’’ he stated.
Ayo-Vaughan added that NNS Delta also located a vessel around Opumani and Asukpo Creeks in Warri area in Delta laden with about 520,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and seized it.
At Egwa Creek, also in Warri area, a vessel observed to contain several metallic ovens and storage tanks was destroyed.
On April 11, operatives raided Fununu Fishing Camp in Akassa, Bayelsa, suspected to be a hideout for pirates and for illegal refining of petroleum products.
“In the encounter, a dugout pit containing about 1,258 barrels of stolen crude oil was deactivated.
“On the same day, operatives destroyed a wooden boat with unspecified quantity of suspected stolen crude oil at Nabil Creek in Rivers,’’ he stated.
“On April 15, NNS Soroh discovered two stores and assembly points used by illegal bunkerers at Onimbu and Ayama communities in Bayelsa and recovered 6,000 litres of diesel,’’ he added.
Ayo-Vaughan also stated that operatives impounded three trucks, each laden with 35,000 litres of illegally refined diesel.
“Equally, NNS Delta deactivated a vessel with about 50,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and 150,000 litres of sludge at Asugbo Creek in Warri, Delta.
“On the same day, operatives deactivated a vessel laden with 250,000 litres of stolen crude and about 30,000 litres of illegally refined diesel around Egwa Creek in Warri, Delta,’’ he stated.
Meanwhile, in Akwa-Ibom, NNS Jubilee intercepted a wooden boat laden with about 100 drums and sacks of products estimated at about 33,000 litres of illegally refined diesel.
Ayo-Vaughan explained that the arrests and seizures had so far denied oil thieves and criminals about N200 million and 700,000 dollars income in two weeks.
The Navy has warned economic saboteurs and their sponsors to desist from unpatriotic and criminal acts, he added.