The Nigerian Navy (NN) says its operation ‘Dakatar Da Barawo (OPDDB)’recorded more arrests and seizures between April 15 and 23, being the third week of its operation.
The Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that OPDDB was inaugurated by the service on April 1 to check the increasing crude oil theft (COT) and related acts of economic sabotage in the nation’s maritime domain.
According to him, on April 15, NN ship (NNS DELTA) at Warri, de-activated an Illegal Refining Site (IRS) around Sara creek.
He added that the IRS had 16 ovens, 16 metal storage tanks and three wide pits filled with about 500,000 litres of illegally refined diesel (AGO), and 700,000 litres of stolen crude oil, a generator and four pumping machines.
“Also, an IRS at Asugbo creek in Warri was discovered with six ovens, 12 metal storage tanks and five large pits all containing about 600,000 litres of stolen crude oil, including 200,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and about 150,000 litres of sludge.“
Similarly, sequel to a series of air reconnaissance, Forward Operating Base (FOB) FORMOSO in Bayelsa on April 19, raided an IRS at Ereweibio creek in Brass Local Government Area.
“Accordingly, seven large cooking ovens, 10 large metal storage tanks and drums all laden with about 400,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 20,000 litres of suspected illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were discovered.
“The site also had five large pits holding approximately 700,000 litres of stolen crude oil. Equally, two pumping machines, one gasoline generator, one submersible pump and one chainsaw machine were discovered at the site and destroyed insitu.“
However, on April 21, an IRS at Lelemu creek in Warri South-West was discovered.
“During the operation, 19 ovens, 26 metal storage tanks and two dugout pits laden with about 250,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and 50,000 litres of illegally refined AGO were destroyed.“
The director added that to ensure effective de-activation of IRS, NNS DELTA on April 21, conducted swamp buggy operations during which an earlier identified IRS around Egwa creek in Warri was destroyed.
“During the operation, 16 ovens, 31 metal storage tanks and seven large pits all filled with about 850,000 litres of stolen crude oil were equally deactivated.
“Relatedly, on April 22, around Lelemu creek in Warri South-West, personnel under NNS DELTA again discovered 22 IRS ovens, 12 metallic storage tanks and five large pits all containing about 150,000 litres of stolen crude oil.
“At another IRS off Lelemu creek, 19 ovens, 42 storage tanks and 14 large pits containing about 300,000 litres of stolen crude oil, as well as approximately 200,000 litres of illegally refined AGO, 100,000 litres of illegally refined Kerosene (DPK) and 100,000 litres of suspected crude oil sludge were all destroyed.
In a related development, NNS LUGARD at Kogi in the course of OPDDB discovered an IRS on April 22, at a location off Akili-Ozizor community of Ogbaru Local Government Area in Anambra.
“During the operation, four locally-fabricated ovens, seven metal storage tanks, four large pits of which two were for storage of about 48,000 litres of stolen crude oil were all destroyed.
“On the same day, NNS VICTORY in Calabar raided tanker garage along Harbour road and seized a storage tank containing about 45,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO.
“Also, a tanker laden with 33,000 litres of suspected locally refined AGO was seized and the owner was arrested. Furthermore, about 58 drums of locally refined AGO were also seized.“
Additionally, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa, on April 23, intercepted a wooden boat at Otuokpot area along Kolo creek. The wooden boat was laden with 60,000 litres of illegally-refined AGO together with over 100 sacks of same product.
Ayo-Vaughan added that items on the boat which included one pumping machine, one Yamaha 40HP outboard engine and one locally-made boat anchor with the products were destroyed at Ogbia waterside.
“The base also conducted a search on a market boat heading for St. Nicolas Axis from Akassa area. About 2,500 litres of suspected illegally refined products stored in gallons and sacks were hidden inside the boat.”
“Accordingly, same were evacuated for destruction. On the same day, personnel under NNS DELTA on patrol around Jones creek in Warri South-West raided an IRS and discovered 33 ovens.
“Forty two metal storage tanks and seven wide pits all filled with about 1,200,000 litres of stolen crude oil, 250,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and about 100,000 litres of sludge, were discovered.
“Further combing of the area off Jones creek led to the discovery of another IRS with five ovens, two metal storage tanks and eight large pits with about 150,000 litres of sludge.
“Both IRS off Jones creek with the discovered items and products were destroyed in situ.
He, however, added that OPDDB also succeeded in the seizure of over 6,000,000 litres of products valued at over N3 billion from oil thieves and economic saboteurs.
The director said that the migration by operators of IRS from the South-South geopolitical zone to the South-East also came to the fore.
This development, he said, would in no way deter the service from ensuring zero tolerance for COT, IRS, illegal bunkering and related economic crimes in the nation’s maritime environment and adjoining territory.(NAN)