‘Navy operation prevented over N30 billion oil theft in five months’

Nigerian Navy officers are colluding with criminals — Gambo
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo has said the operation “Dakatar Da Barawo,” which was launched five months ago has prevented the diversion of over N30 billion crude oil by individuals, that could be used to support criminals.

Gambo stated this today in a television interview focusing on maritime security challenges in the country.

The CNS, who gave a review of the Nigerian Navy operation in the last five months, revealed that over 216 illegal refining sites with about 3, 000 metal storage tanks and over 150 massive wooden boats were destroyed during the period under review.

He also stated that oil thieves were denied over 40 million litres, which is about 270, 000 barrels of crude oil and a little below 20 million litres of illegally refined AGO.

“The operation is focused on crushing metal storage tanks constructed and located within the creeks that are used to store stolen crude oil and illegally refined AGO.

“The activation of these sites are supported with the checkpoint management and control regime, which involves deployment of armed personnel on our boats that are stationed at startegic river entrances and extra reach within the creeks to arrest vessels, especially wooden boats and barges used to convey stolen oil,” he said.

Gambo said the vast maritime environment of the nation of about 84, 000 nautical miles, made it necessary to deploy technology to continuously monitor all round surveillance as well as to save cost to the government.

He said the Naval facilities, have in the last four weeks, detected and arrested a number of vessels attempting to load crude oil and liquified natural gas within the nation’s off shore terminals without proper and necessary documentation as well as approvals from relevant authorities.

Gambo, while narrating the Nigerian Navy ship ‘Gongola’ ordeal with the MT Heroic Idun oil theft attempt at the Akpo Oilfield Terminal off shore Bonny anchorage, said arrangements are in progress to handover the ship to the Nigerian Navy through the diplomatic process with the Gulf of Guinea member states.

He said upon receiving the MT Heroic Idun, the Nigerian Navy will conduct indepth investigation to unravel actions of the vessel to ensure a more transparent vessels nomination process for crude oil and liquified natural gas loading procedures at the various terminals, which is ongoing between the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited now.

“The fact that the Nigerian Navy is able to detect the illegal entrance of massive ships like MT Heroic Idun, attempting to load crude oil without clearance and also with the Nigerian Navy to vector an Equatorial Navy ship christened Captain David to effect that particular arrest, further shows the Nigerian Navy leveraging technology as well as synergy with member state of the Gulf of Guinea to secure the maritime space.

“This is highly commendable considering where we are coming from and it will send appropriate signals to all those that want to legalise illegality and steal crude oil from our nation that the Navy has the reach.”  

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