Navy averts ship hijack, destroys illegal refineries in Niger Delta

The Nigerian Navy yesterday said it had averted a ship hijack and destroyed more illegal refineries in the Niger Delta.

This is contained in a statement signed by its Director of Information, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, in Abuja.

The statement said the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS OKPABANA, successfully averted a hijack attack on MT NORDIC FREEDOM around Agbami oil field, off all caps Brass.

“The BAHAMAS flagged vessel alerted the Naval Ship which was on routine patrol of the general area.

“On getting the alert, NNS OKPABANA ensured that MT NORDIC FREEDOM was protected from the sea pirates,” it said.

The statement appealed to law-abiding seafarers not to entertain any fear and enjoined them to promptly alert the Nigerian Navy of any suspicious activities around them.

The statement also said that illegal crude oil thieves and vandals operating in the Niger Delta have suffered heavy losses as naval officials intensify operations against their activities.

The statement recalled that in recent times, there had been increased patrols by naval operatives which led to the destruction of illegally operated local refineries and arrest of vandals.

“Indeed, this is a direct fallout of improved intelligence gathering and surveillance.

“Recently, naval patrol team carried out raids at Ugborodo Itsekiri area in Warri South-West, where an illegal refinery with large storage pits containing liquid suspected to be crude oil was discovered.

“Also discovered in the site was a large Cotonou boat laden with 37 drums of suspected illegally refined AGO,” it said.

The statement also said that consequently, the refinery facilities were destroyed as the owners fled the scenes before the arrival of naval team.

It said a raid conducted in the general areas of Ogbonga, Egbelema and adjoining creeks dealt a devastating blow on the activities of the illegal crude oil thieves.

“The team in that raid also discovered two co-located active illegal refineries in Ogbonga creek, and destroyed 3 suspected crude oil storage tanks and 4 suspected AGO storage tanks.

“In the Egbelema axis, an active illegal refinery was discovered with two storage tanks. The refinery site and other facilities used for the illicit business were destroyed,” the statement said.

It said based on a tip-off, the naval patrol teams conducted a raid at Betterland community and discovered an illegal refinery site with eight storage tanks.

It said each of a set of four tanks contained approximately 20,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil, while the other four tanks contained about 10,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO each.

Other items discovered and destroyed by the patrol team at the site include two Cotonou boats laden with suspected crude oil; three fibre speed boats as well as one electric power generator.

The statement added that the operators of the illegal refinery deserted the site before the arrival of the patrol team.

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