The Nigerian Navy yesterday in Lagos said it arrested 17 persons suspect to be oil thieves on board a ship, MV Long Island.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ilasanni Alade, made the disclosure while addressing journalists in Apapa, Lagos.
Alade said the command received an intelligence report on Tuesday, at about 6am that MV Long Island was carrying a product suspected to be stolen crude oil.
“There was an intelligence report that MV Long Island was carrying product suspected to be stolen crude oil with armed hijackers on board outside the Lagos Bar.
“Acting on the intelligence tips, NN Ship Ikot-Abasi, a fast patrol boat of the command was deployed to carry out their arrest.
“The vessel was successfully intercepted and taken to the Naval Base Jetty, Apapa, where the elements of the NN Special Boat Services carried out the operation.
“Three suspected hijackers were arrested with two pump action rifles and ammunition alongside 14 crew members.
“The crew members on board the vessels were also arrested and are now being interrogated,” he said.
Alade said the sample of the product had been taken to the Department of Petroleum Resources for confirmation.
“At the end of the investigation, the suspects, the vessels and the stolen product will be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agencies for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he said.
Alade, urged the general public not to hesitate in giving the Nigerian Navy any useful information that could lead to more arrest of other criminals. He also emphasised on the zero tolerance of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Usman Jibrin, and advised criminal-minded people to desist from the nefarious acts.
Meanwhile, operatives of the Sector 1, anti-illegal oil bunkering of the Joint Task Force, JTF, Operation Pulo Shield, Bayelsa State, on Tuesday, said it had destroyed 23 illegal refinery camps and arrested 10 suspects for illegal oil bunkering activities.
Colonel Mustapha Anka, Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, said in a statement that the suspects will face the full wrath of the law.
Anka said the operation was conducted by men of 3 Battalion, Effurun Barracks, at Oteghele and Ejere areas of Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Anka said: “Items discovered at the sites include 750 drums filled with substance suspected to be crude oil, 57 large metal tanks filled with stolen illegal refined Automated Gas Oil, AGO, and 48 cooking ovens.”
He listed other items recovered during the raid to include 48 dug-out pits filled with crude oil, 16 pumping machines, 35 surface tanks, four welding machines and several illegal oil bunkering hoses.
The JTF spokesman said the items were destroyed at the site during the operation.
He said: “Similarly, troops of Operation Thunderstorm in Orhionmwon area of Edo State, in conjunction with the Petroleum Pipeline Management Cooperation, PPMC, while on patrol at Obazagbo village in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of Edo State, discovered several illegal crude oil refineries and arrested four suspects.
“The suspects were driving a Toyota car with number plate Delta SAP 589AA, loaded with substances suspected to be petroleum products in Ugbakea community, Edo State.”
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