The Nigerian Navy said it has arrested 21 suspects and seized two vessels on the waterways and creeks of Agbami Oil Field and Obi Creeks in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
A statement yesterday by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) the Central Naval Command, Rear Adm. Sidi-Ali Hassan Usman, said the suspects are all Nigerians.
The statement, released in Yenagoa, the state capital, said the vessels lacked permits to lift crude oil and were not registered with the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, in the Niger Delta.
It said: “The vessels were laden with 2.1 million litres of crude oil at the time of arrest.
“They were intercepted at points on the Ebi creeks and Agbami Oil Field between December 26 and January 14.
“The suspects were unable to tender relevant documents, such as the Nigerian Port Authority bunkering permit and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) nomination for crude oil lifting.
“They lacked the certificate of registration with the Joint Military Task Force. They did not have the Naval Headquarters approval for the movement of petroleum products within the command area of responsibility.
“The determination of the Navy and the Central Naval Command to eradicate oil theft, bunkering and other illegality on the Nigerian waters is total”.
The Navy also vowed to sustain the tempo of activities on the waterways and creeks of the Niger Delta.