The Central Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy has arrested two vessels loaded with 2,111,000 litres of illicit crude oil valued at over N2.4 billion in Bayelsa State.
The Naval authority also confirmed the arrest of 21 persons who were crew members of the seized vessels.
In a statement issued by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Central Naval Command (CNC), Rear Admiral Sidi- Ali Hassan Usman, he said the two vessels, MT ELITANK 123 and one other were arrested offshore around Agbami Oil field and the Obi creek in Southern Ijaw local government area respectively.
He said the two vessels were arrested between 26th of December,2013 and January 5,2014, adding that the suspected oil thieves were arrested for not possessing requisite documents permitting them to lift crude oil.
“They were unable to tender relevant documents such as Nigerian Port Authority bunkering permit and the NNPC nomination for crude oil lifting. And they lack the certificate of registration with the Joint Military Task (Operation Pulo Shield) nor the NHQ approval for the movement of petroleum products within the command’s area of responsibility”, the FOC maintained.
He vowed that the Navy would sustain the tempo of surveillance on the waterways and creeks in the Niger Delta.
“The foregoing arrests underscore the determination of the Nigerian Navy and the Central Naval Command in particular, to completely eradicate oil theft, illegal bunkering and other illegality in the Nigeria waters.”
”This further demonstrates the zero tolerance stance of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba against oil theft and related criminalities in the nation’s maritime domain”, Rear Admiral Usman stressed.