Yenagoa - The Central Naval Command on Tuesday said it had intercepted a vessel and tug boat suspected to be involved in oil theft.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the vessel registered as MT DERA and tugboat, RUNNER CHARLEY, as well as 11 crew members are in custody of the Navy.
A statement issued by Lieutenant Commander Eddie Yeibo on behalf of the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Central Naval Command, said the seizure followed intelligence report.
The statement said the vessel and tugboat were apprehended at Eremor 1 Marginal Oil Field located off Peretorugbene in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
It stated that the vessel was laden with 6 000 metric tonnes of suspected stolen crude oil.
The statement quoted the FOC, CNC, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, as saying at the scene of the arrest that preliminary investigation was ongoing.
“The barge was arrested at a point where there was no loading point.
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“But rather, the crude was suspected to be stolen from a well head at the Eremor 1 Marginal Field,’’ Suleiman said.
The statement warned that there would be no hiding place for oil thieves within the command’s area of responsibility.
It noted that the command had made several successful raids on illegal refinery sites in the fight against crude oil theft barely two weeks of Suleiman's assumption of office.
The statement attributed the feat to the zero tolerance stance on crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering and other sundry crimes.
It assured that the Navy would continue to make the illegal business of crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and other sundry crimes unattractive.
The statement said that the FOC was accompanied by the Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship DELTA; Commodore Aliyu Sule, Commander, Nigerian Naval Base, Yenagoa; Commodore Yakubu Wambai.
Also on the delegation was the command’s Deputy Operation Officer, Navy Captain Mustapha Hassan.