Oil Thieves Now Convert Fishing Trawlers To Tankers For Oil Theft – Navy

oil theft

Crude oil thieves in the Niger Delta region have improvised their theft mechanism by converting fishing trawlers into oil tankers for illegal lifting of crude oil along waterways of the region with a view to evading arrest, the Nigerian Navy has said.

The ploy was uncovered last week following the arrest of a vessel, MV DALAL, laden with 120,000 litres of Automated Gas Oil, diesel, allegedly lifted from illegal refineries at the Akassa Creek in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Disclosing this in Yenegoa, Command Operations Officer, Central Naval Command, Commodore Emmanuel Enemor, said the confession obtained from the captain of the seized vessel showed that fishing trawlers were now being converted to tankers for the purpose of illegal bunkering.

trawler-motart

According to him, the Naval operatives intercepted the vessel while on patrol off the coast of Brass following suspicions that the ship had on board illegally refined AGO.

It was discovered at the time of the arrest, that the vessel did not have Nigerian Ports Authority bunkering permit, ship’s log, Naval Headquarters approval and the certificate of the Joint Task Force, code-named Operation Pulo Shield.

“Laboratory analysis of the sample of the product from the vessel also indicated that the AGO on board was of poor diesel quality. There was a need to institute a proper legal action against MV DALAL and the navy had handed over 10 crew members arrested on board the ship and other exhibits to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.”

Enemor said the suspects have been transferred to EFCC after a brief ceremony at the command’s headquarters on Saturday in Yenagoa.

“EFCC was expected to carry out further investigations and prosecution of the suspects.The navy would retain custody of the vessel until the conclusion of the case,” he noted.

The navy, he added, had demonstrated in the past few weeks its renewed determination to completely eradicate all forms of illegal activities in the maritime environment.

“We are concerned with crude oil theft, illegal refining of stolen crude, pipeline vandalism, sea robbery, piracy, kidnapping, hijacking of vessels and attacks on vessels,” he said.

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