The Nigerian Navy says it has arrested and seized about $700,000 worth of stolen crude and illegally refined products from oil thieves in the South-South region as part of its Operation Dakatar Da Barawo (OPDDB) in the last two weeks.
OPDDB, which means ‘Stop the Thief’ was launched on April 1, 2022 as part of efforts to check increasing crude oil theft (COT) and related acts of economic sabotage in the South-South geopolitical zone.
In a statement signed by the Director of Naval Information, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the troops deployed in the ongoing operation also deactivated several illegal refining sites where hundreds of litres of stolen crude and AGO were discovered.
While warning economic saboteurs and their sponsors to desist from unpatriotic and criminal acts, Commodore Ayo-Vaughan said the Navy remains committed to ensuring a zero-tolerance for crude-oil theft and illegal bunkering in the nation’s oil producing areas.
The statement reads, “On 5, April 2022, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) PATHFINDER at Port-Harcourt intercepted 9 huge (‘Cotonou’) wooden boats laden with an unspecified quantity of illegally refined AGO at Andoki Bille and other areas within her responsibility.
“Additionally, Illegal Refining Sites (IRS) with cooking pots, tanks and reservoirs were discovered in Ketoru Creek. The Base also arrested 2 STARZ marine BOATS DOROH 1 and DOROH 2 for providing illegal escort services within the Bonny maritime area without proper approvals.
“Also on 7 April 2022, NNS ABA intercepted and arrested MV ROYAL DIADEM which was laden with suspected illegally refined AGO of unspecified quantity at Bonny area. The vessel was unable to provide appropriate documentation at the point of loading, hence MV ROYAL DIADEM is presently undergoing investigation.
“Similarly, NNS DELTA at Warri located an IRS around Opumami and Asukpo Creek laden with about 520,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil. Also, at Egwa creek in the Warri area, an IRS observed to contain several metallic ovens and storage tanks was destroyed.
“In addition, on 11 April 2022, Forward Operation Base (FOB) FORMOSO acting on intelligence reports raided Fununu Fishing Camp in Akassa, Bayelsa State, a known but suspected hideout for illegal refining operators and sea robbers. In the encounter, a dugout pit containing about 1,258bbls of stolen crude oil was deactivated. In the same vein and on the same day, FOB BONNY destroyed a wooden laden boat with unspecified quantities of suspected crude oil at Nabil creek in Rivers State.
“Furthermore, on 15 April 2022, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa discovered 2 stores and assembly points used by illegal bunkers at Onimbu and Ayama communities subsequently leading to the discovery of 6,000 litres of AGO. The Base also arrested 3 trucks each laden with 35,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO. Equally, NNS DELTA at Asugbo Creek in Warri deactivated an IRS around Egwa creek in Warri laden with 250,000 litres of stolen crude and about 30,000 litres of illegally refined AGO.
“Meanwhile, in Akwa-Ibom State, NNS JUBILEE intercepted and arrested a wooden boat laden with about 100 drums and sacks of product estimated at 33,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO.
“These arrests and seizures from the ongoing OPDDB have denied oil thieves and criminals of about N200 million and $700,000 worth of products within roughly two weeks.
“It is indicative of the Nigerian Navy’s resolve to ensure zero tolerance for COT, illegal bunkering and related economic crimes in the Nation’s maritime area and the South-South geopolitical zone in particular.”