By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Nigerian Navy has recorded series of successful blockage of oil thefts and demobilize illegal oil refineries in the Niger-Delta region.
This is part of efforts by the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to be curtail the activities of criminals in the country.
In a press statement on Wednesday, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Major General John Enenche said the Nigerian Navy Ship DELTA demobilized 3 illegal refining sites in Delta State.
He said that on the 7th April 2020, “following recent discovery that some illegal refineries that were dismantled on Bennett Island in Feb 20 had been reactivated, Nigerian Navy Ship DELTA in conjunction with an Ocean Marine Service (OMS) surveillance crew deployed 2 swamp buggies to the Island for anti-illegal bunkering/Crude Oil Theft (COT) operations. The team commenced swamp buggy operations at the illegal refining sites and deactivated 24 ovens, 35 receivers, 25 surface metal storage tanks and covered one dug out pit.
“Additionally, on 8 Apr 20, the team located another illegal refining site at Bennett Island. During the operation, 14 ovens, 20 receivers and 21 surface metal storage tanks were dismantled. Similarly, on 10 Apr 20, the combined team of NNS DELTA and OMS surveillance crew commenced the swamp buggy operation at Bennett Island in Warri South LGA of Delta State. The team located an illegal refining site and deactivated 4 ovens, 14 surface metal storage tanks and 5 coolers. Furthermore, the team discovered an illegal valve connection along the Trans-Forcados pipeline suspected to have been connected by pipeline vandals. The valve and associated fittings were disconnected and recovered to the OMS Houseboat at Yeye.
“In the same vein, Nigerian Navy Ship PATHFINDER on 8 Apr 20, while on patrol located an illegal refining site in Alakiri around Okirika general area of Rivers State. The site had approximately 20,000 litres of illegally refined AGO. The site and products were impounded while no arrest was made as the operators of the illegal refining site fled on sighting the patrol team.
“Similarly, on 7 Apr 20, Forward Operating Base ESCRAVOS team intercepted 2 wooden boats without engines controlled by one fibre boat powered by a 40HP engine along Banga Village Creek, Opuedebubor, Warri South West LGA, Delta State. The wooden boats were laden with about 3,000 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO, packaged in polyethylene bags. Consequently, the boats were towed to a safe place and impounded. Same day, the team visited a reactivated Illegal Refining Site (IRS) along Opuedebubor Creek behind Banga Village in Warri South West LGA Delta State. The site had 14 refining units, 24 metal storage tanks, 15 metal drums and 12 dugout pits. Cumulatively, the IRS had about 400,000 litres of AGO, 2,201 barrels of crude oil and 25,000 litres of DPK respectively. The site was deactivated while the 40HP outboard engine recovered along Banga Village Creek was taken to the Base.
“In another Crude Oil Theft operation on 9 Apr 20, a patrol team revisited a previously deactivated IRS along Oviloye Creek, Warri South West LGA and observed that it had been reactivated. The site had 2 refining units and 4 metal storage tanks, approximately 5,000litres of illegally refined AGO and 31.4 barrels of stolen crude oil. Also, during the operations, the team intercepted 2 fibre boats laden with about 4,000 litres of illegally refined DPK with 40HP and 60 HP outboard engines. The site and petroleum products were impounded and the 40HP and 60HP outboard engines were recovered to the Base.
“Cumulatively, the Forward Operating Base ESCRAVOS patrol teams denied oil thieves dealing of about 408,000 litres of illegally refined AGO, 2,232.4 barrels of stolen crude oil and 29,000 litres of DPK.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria hereby continue to solicit for timely and credible information for the enhancement of its operations,” he added.