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Navy confirms arrest of 27 crude oil theft suspects

14 December 2013, 15:33

Abuja - The Nigerian Navy has confirmed the arrest of 27 suspects, consisting of 24 Nigerians and three Ghanaians over alleged theft of over 1.1 million litres of crude oil.

The Operations Officer of the Central Naval Command, Yenagoa, Commodore Emmanuel Enemor, made the disclosure on Friday in Yenagoa while handing over the 27 suspects to the Police Command in Bayelsa.

Enemor said that the suspects, who were nabbed in two separate operations, perpetrated the crime in the creeks on the waterways of Egweama community in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

He said the three Ghanaians were arrested on board a vessel, "MT Frankesen" with nine Nigerian accomplices on Oct. 24 with 1,092,000 litres of stolen crude oil.

He added that 15 Nigerians were arrested in separate raids carried out on September 25 and October 10 aboard a small tug boat known as "MV Jehovah Miracle 3" and a wooden boat on the Brass River.

The officer noted that the arrest was made by the combat unit of the Navy at the Forwarding Operating Base (FORMOSO), Brass Island, led by Capt. Aniedi Ibok.

"The arrest was in furtherance of Navy's efforts to eradicate all forms of illegalities and criminal activities on the nation’s waterways.

"Laboratory analysis of the sample of the product confirmed it to be crude oil.

"The captain of the vessel did not posses relevant documents, licence or permit to be in that vicinity.

"The ship's log showed that the vessel had made previous trips from Akassa to Ghana, which suggested serial involvement in illegal bunkering."

The operations officer noted that the interception and arrest of a small tug boat and wooden boat with 15 Nigerians on the Brass River was due to the lack of proper permit.

He expressed confidence that the efforts of the Navy to curtail illegal theft of crude oil would help to address environmental challenges caused by leakage of petroleum products.

Responding on behalf of the Police Command in Bayelsa, Mr Christian Nwogbo, who represented the Commissioner of Police, Mr Hilary Opara, commended the Navy for its efforts to eradicate crude oil theft.

He said the 61 oil theft suspects handed over to the Police Command last September had been arraigned at the Federal High Court.


Tags theft oil navy

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