Nigeria: Navy uncovers Rivers illegal refinery, arrests 14

Nigeria: Navy uncovers Rivers illegal refinery, arrests 14

By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria

The Nigerian Navy has made a significant breakthrough in its fight against illegal oil bunkering in Rivers State. Fourteen individuals have been arrested for their alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering activities in Elem Krakama community, Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State. In addition, the Navy has uncovered an illegal oil refining site with a staggering capacity of over 9.6 million litres per day of Automotive Gas Oil, commonly known as diesel.

The operation, led by Commodore Desmond Igbo, the Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship, Pathfinder, resulted in the seizure of three wooden boats with a storage capacity of 70 metric tonnes. These boats were being used to transport the illegally obtained crude oil.

During a media tour of the location in the creeks, Commodore Igbo explained that the suspects were siphoning crude oil from a tapped oil wellhead in Oil Mining Lease (OML-18), which is operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited. The wellhead had been compromised by the oil thieves in the same oil field.

The illegal oil refining site discovered by the Navy consists of 16 cooking pots, each with a capacity of 6,000 litres of diesel. The scale of the operation is evident, with some cooking pots containing up to 600,000 litres of diesel. The crude oil was being transferred to the wooden boats, also known as Cotonou boats, through a 14-inch hose connected illegally to the oil wellhead. From there, the crude oil would be transported to reservoirs for further processing.

Commodore Igbo emphasized the Navy’s commitment to eradicating illegal oil refining activities in the Niger Delta region. This operation was carried out in line with the mandate given by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, to combat economic sabotage and put an end to oil theft in the region.

The fourteen suspects arrested during the operation, along with the seized crude oil, will be handed over to the appropriate agencies for prosecution. Commodore Igbo reiterated that this illegal activity is detrimental to the country and its economy, and it must be stopped.

The Nigerian Navy’s successful operation is a testament to their dedication in safeguarding the nation’s resources and ensuring that economic saboteurs are brought to justice. The fight against illegal oil bunkering continues, as the Navy remains vigilant in its efforts to protect the Niger Delta and prevent further damage to the economy.

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