Navy Clamp Down On Suppliers Of Illegally Refined Products

… saves the country over N6billion

In its continued efforts to rid the Niger Delta of oil bunkering, illegal refining of petroleum products by criminals, the Nigerian Navy-led Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (OPDDB) has clamped down on suppliers and conveyers of illegally/locally refined products in May 2022.

In the process, 28 persons were arrested with 23 handed over; while 66 wooden boats, one market boat, six speed boats seized. Also confiscated are six trucks, One Ford Model Bus, three Tankers and a Toyota Camry; 36 IRS, 232 oven, 308 storage tanks and 104 dugout pits.

According to a statement by the Director of Information (DINFO), Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan gave the breakdown of confiscated crude and the market value of Six Billion, Three Hundred and Forty-Three Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Eight Thousand Four Hundred and Seventy-Two Naira Five Kobo (N6,343,678,472.5) only.

The breakdown included 5, 675, 000 litres of crude oil worth N1, 873,820,707.5; 132, 625 litres of DPK worth N 74, 933,125 million; 6,042,187 litres of AGO (diesel), worth N4, 350,374,640 billion; 180,000 litres of PMS (petrol), worth N29,700,000 million; 66,000 litres of Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) worth N14,850,000 million and 180,000 litres of Sludge.

For the month of May 2022, the Nigerian Navy sustained the fight against crude oil theft (COT), illegal refining sites (IRS) and illegal bunkering. Also, the Navy clamped down heavily on the suppliers and conveyers of illegally/locally refined products.

It was learnt that on the 14th May 2022, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) SOROH at Yenagoa sighted a barge laden with about 200,000 litres of illegally refined AGO at Wabrox jetty in Swali community of Yenagoa.

Investigation revealed that Wabrox company used the barge as a floating jetty while a yet to be identified man stored illegally refined petroleum products in it before trucking the products.

Similarly, a day later on the 15 May 2022, NNS SOROH intercepted five boats laden with
about 100,000 litres of illegally refined petroleum products. The boats and products were neutralized in appropriately.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that seven suspects namely four males and three females (one heavily pregnant) were arrested being occupants of the boats. However, the pregnant female was said to have been confined to the Base Medical Centre before they were handed over to the Nigerian Police.

In another development, on the 16th May 2022, Forward Operation Base (FOB) ESCRAVOS at Delta state raided an IRS at Madangho Creek in Warri South West Local Government Area where seven illegal refining units, 15 storage tanks and four large pits were discovered.

In the process, a total of about 150,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and about 250,000 litres of stolen crude oil were also found. Consequently, the IRS and products were handled appropriately. On the same day, NNS SOROH
intercepted 3 x drums and 2 x 75 litre jerricans of suspected illegally refined AGO at Nembe creek.

Furthermore, on 17 May 2022, NNS DELTA at Warri intercepted five wooden boats around Nana Creek in Warri South-West LGA of Delta state. The wooden boats were conveying about 960 x 50-litre polythene bags containing about 48,000 litres of suspected illegally refined DPK. Accordingly, the wooden boats and product were handled appropriately.

On 19 May 2022, NNS SOROH proceeded to Okotogbotuo Creek in Akassa/Brass LGA where about 30 sacks of suspected illegally refined AGO were found but we’re destroyed immediately. Thereafter, at Okotogbotuo fishing camp, a search was conducted after some persons were seen fleeing the camp on sighting the naval patrol.

A wooden boat laden with suspected illegally refined AGO in 35 sacks and another 55 sacks of kerosene were discovered at different points within the fishing camp. Additionally, one 9 Hp boat engine was recovered to the Base.

On the same day, NNS DELTA at Warri intercepted a Toyota Camry with plate number AS 685-UGH
conveying 40 x 30-litres polythene bags containing about 1,200 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO around trailer park along Warri-Sapele road in Uwvie LGA.

Accordingly, the vehicle and products were handled appropriately. On the same Thursday 19 May 2022, NNS LUGARD at Lokoja around Jamarta checkpoint arrested two 33,000 litres tankers with plate numbers SBA 385 XA and KNC 52 YT, conveying products suspected to be illegally refined Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO).

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The 2 x trucks as well as the 6 drivers and mechanics were detained in the Base while samples of the product would be taken for laboratory analysis to ascertain for further action.

In the same vein, OPPPB, on 22 May 2022, NNS PATHFINDER maintained presence at the market square in Cawthorne channel and subsequently, discovered 14 refining pots, 12 reservoirs and 11 storage tanks off the channel and destroyed them.

Additionally, the Base intercepted two wooden boats at Namasibi. The boats were laden with products suspected to be stolen crude and same were handled appropriately. Same day, FOB BONNY discovered several pit reservoirs interconnected with a network of hoses at an IRS at Ogbunku creek.

Also, three massive pits filled with huge quantity of stolen crude were discovered. Additionally, the Base sighted a large wooden boat with 50 drums of locally refined AGO within the area. All the boats and IRS related facilities sighted were handled appropriately.

Commodore Ayo-Vaughan further explained that NNS SOROH discovered an assembly point and four stores filled with 7000 litres of PMS and 25000 litres of AGO stored in drums including 10000 litres of AGO stored in sacks. The products were destroyed too.

Furthermore, on 23 May 2022, NNS DELTA at Warri, located and deactivated an IRS around Opuday-popor Creek in Gbaramatu kingdom of Warri South-West LGA. The site had eight ovens, 12 metal storage tanks and four large pits collectively filled with about 60,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO and about 100,000 litres of stolen crude oil.

“Further exploitation of the general area led to the discovery of another IRS around Opumami-asisa Creek in Ogbe-Ijaw within the same LGA of Delta state. The site had four ovens, seven metal storage tanks and three large pits all containing about 80,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 150,000 litres of stolen crude oil.

“Accordingly, the site was handled appropriately. Items recovered include two surface pumping machines, eight metal sheets, six metal pipes and four iron rods. Similarly, NNS PATHFINDER destroyed 16 refining
pots, eight reservoirs and 16 storage tanks during a swamp buggy operation around market square.

“A day later, on the 24 May 2022, FOB BONNY discovered several IRS at Iwokiri and Akulakiri behind Peterside community in the Bonny general area. The sites had interconnecting hoses which aided the discovery of the major points with two storage
tanks, four drums and a storage pit filled with unspecified quantity of AGO.”

Meanwhile, it was revealed that on 29 May 2022, FOB ESCRAVOS again around Escravos break waters within Ugborodo sea shores in Warri South West LGA, sighted three wooden (‘Cotonou’) boats. The boats were found to be void of product but with other equipment.

Consequently, one 130hp, 3 x 115hp, one 85hp and one 75hp outboard engines including five pumping machines and two bundles of three inch and one bundle of two inch hoses were all recovered for the boat after which they were handled as appropriate.

On the 31st May 2022, NNS PATHFINDER arrested one wooden boat laden with unspecified amount of suspected illegally refined AGO along Cawthorne channel.

Meanwhile, FOB ESCRAVOS at Delta State visited a previously deactivated IRS along Jones Creek in Warri South-West LGA. The IRS was discovered to be inactive. Further exploitation of the area led to the discovery of new IRS which had three ovens, six metal storage tanks, two surface pits, one wide pit and several metal drums all approximated to contain about 75,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 100,000 litres of stolen crude oil.

The Base recovered three pumping machines, a 7.5kw (18hp) generator, one filing machine and one welding machine.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Navy-led Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (OPDDB) was flagged off on 1 April 2022 with the support of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.

Within the last couple of months, Nigerian Navy has made remarkable achievements arresting hundreds of criminals and confiscated illegally stolen crude oil and dubiously refined products.

Post Author: Friday Ekeoba