The Nigerian Navy through “Operation Dakatar Da Barawo” (OPDDB) has seized six million litres of illegally refined products worth N3 billion from oil thieves in three weeks.
The seizure was made from eight illegal refining sites raid, wooden boat, tanker and a market.
The director, Information Naval Headquarters, Commodore Adedotun Olukayode Ayo-Vaughan, in a statement he issued yesterday, said the Navy’s unrelenting effort to check increasing crude oil theft (COT) and related acts of economic sabotage recorded more arrests and seizures between 15th-23rd April, 2022 being the third week of the operation.
He said, “Week 3 of OPDDB saw the seizure of over 6,000,000 litres of products valued over N 3 billion from oil thieves and economic saboteurs. The migration by operators of illegal refining sites (IRS) from the South-South geopolitical zone to the South East also came to the fore.
“This development will in no way deter the Nigerian Navy from ensuring zero tolerance for COT, IRS, illegal bunkering and related economic crimes in the nation’s maritime environment and adjoining territory,” he said.
In a breakdown, he said Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DELTA at Warri on 15th April, 2022, deactivated an illegal refining site (IRS) around Sara Creek containing 16 ovens, 16 metal storage tanks and three wide pits filled with about 500,000 litres of illegally refined AGO, as well as 700,000 litres of stolen crude oil, a generator and four pumping machines.
The troops also discovered an IRS at Asugbo Creek in Warri 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, Forward Operating Base (FOB) FORMOSO in Bayelsa State on 19th April, 2022, sequel to a series of air reconnaissance, raided an IRS at Ereweibio Creek in Brass local government area.
The site contained 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 PMS, five large pits holding approximately 700,000 litres of stolen crude oil.
The team also destroyed two pumping machines, one gasoline generator, one submersible pump and one chainsaw machine at the site.
He said the troops on 21st April, 2022, discovered and destroyed an IRS at Lelemu Creek in Warri South-West containing 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.
He said the NNS Delta on 21 April 2022 conducted swamp buggy operations during which an earlier identified IRS around Egwa Creek in Warri was destroyed.
Commodore Ayo-Vaughan said the troops deactivated 16 ovens, 31 metal storage tanks and 7 large pits all filled with about 850,000 litres of stolen crude oil.
In a related development, troops of NNS Delta on 22nd April, 2022, around Lelemu Creek in Warri South West local government area of Delta State discovered 22 IRS ovens, 12 metallic storage tanks and five large pits all containing about 150,000 litres of stolen crude oil.
Troops also destroyed another IRS off Lelemu creek, with 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 DPK and 100,000 litres of suspected crude oil sludge.
Furthermore, NNS LUGARD at Kogi State on 22nd April, 2022 discovered an IRS at a location off Akili-Ozizor community of Ogbaru local government area, Anambra State.
The troops destroyed 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.
On the same day, he said NNS VICTORY in Calabar raided a tanker garage on Harbour Road in the city 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.
In addition, the service also seized about 58 drums of locally refined AGO.
Additionally, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa, on Saturday, 23rd April, 2022, intercepted a wooden boat at Otuokpot Area along Kolo Creek.
He said the wooden boat was laden with 60,000 litres of illegally refined AGO with over 100 sacks of the same product, one pumping machine, one Yamaha 40HP outboard engine and one locally made boat Anchor with the products.
He added that the Base also conducted a search on a Market Boat heading for St Nicolas Axis from the Akassa area and discovered 2,500 litres of suspected illegally refined products stored in gallons and sacks hidden inside the boat.
On the same day, personnel of NNS DELTA on patrol around Jones creek in Warri South West LGA raided an IRS and discovered 33 ovens, 42 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.
The troops also discovered 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 said.