Illegal crude oil thieves and pirates operating in the Niger Delta have suffered heavy loss as the Nigerian Navy intensifies the ongoing operations against their unlawful activities in the area. Recall that in recent times, there have been increased patrols by naval operatives which led to 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 LGA Delta State 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. The refinery facilities were destroyed as the owners fled the scenes before the arrival of Nigerian Navy team.
Additionally, 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. Patrol team of the Nigerian Navy in that raid discovered 2 co-located active illegal refineries in Ogbonga creek. Further search led to the discovery and destruction of 3 suspected crude oil storage tanks and 4 suspected AGO storage tanks. In the Egbelema axis, an active illegal refinery was discovered with 2 storage tanks. The refinery site and other facilities used for the illicit business were destroyed as the operators of the facilities fled the site in an apparent effort to evade arrest and prosecution.
Based on a tip off, the Naval patrol teams conducted a raid at better land community. The team discovered an illegal refinery site with 8 storage tanks. Each of the 4 tanks contained approximately 20,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil while the other 4 tanks contained about 10,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO each. Other items discovered and destroyed by the naval patrol team at the site include 2 Cotonou boats laden with large quantities of suspected crude oil, 3 fibre speed boats as well as one electric power generator. However, the operators of the illegal refinery deserted the site before the arrival of the naval patrol team.
In a related development, the Nigerian Navy Ship 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 MT NORDIC FREEDOM was protected from the sea pirates who attempted to hijack the vessel.
In view of the foregoing, The Nigerian Navy wishes to appeal to law abiding sea farers not to entertain any fear. However, they are enjoined to promptly alert the Nigerian Navy patrol teams of any suspicious activities around them.