The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, has impounded a vessel laden with 1,500 metric tons of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil, an official said on Friday.
Lt. -Col. Ado Isa, spokesman of the JTF, told reporters at the task force’s headquarters in Yenagoa that the vessel registered as MV Europort, was seized at Foropa waterways in Bayelsa.
Ado said that operatives of the JTF on patrol at about 2.30 a.m. on June 2 arrested the vessel in Forropa creeks in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.
“The 2,000 metric tons capacity vessel was arrested by the JTF operatives patrol team following a tip off at about 02.30 hrs on June 2, 2015.
“The vessel was discovered carrying 1,500 metric tons of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).
“The suspects boarded a speed boat and sailed into the high sea on sighting the JTF troops,” Ado said.
According to the JTF spokesman, the vessel currently stationed at Foropa creeks is currently being guarded by the troops.
Meanwhile efforts are being intensified to apprehend the suspected oil thieves and crew of the vessel.
He said that in another development, troops of the task force operating in Eleme, Port Harcourt seized a truck laden with 33,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil.
Ado said that the truck with registration number Anambra 784 AWK arrested at Onne, was destroyed with its contents at the place of arrest.
The driver of the truck reportedly absconded on sighting the JTF troops.
“It is hoped that these arrests will discourage other intending criminals from any act of illegal oil related crimes which is a severe economic crime to our great country, Nigeria.
“Consequently, I beckon on the good people of Niger Delta to support the ‘Zero Tolerance Campaign’ of the JTF Commander, Maj.-Gen Emmanuel Atewe against oil theft and illegalities.
“We also solicit timely information from the people to enable the task force track miscreants in the Niger Delta region,” Ado pleaded.
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