Port Harcourt – The Central Naval Command, Nigerian Navy says it arrested 21 persons in connection with crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region of the oil-rich South South Nigeria.
The command also reported the interception of two vessels loaded with crude oil worth over N2.4 billion along the waterways of Agbami oil field and Ebi creeks in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sidi-Ali Usman, said during the inspection of the seized vessels on Tuesday that at the time of the vessels’ interception, they were carrying 2.111million litres of crude oil estimated to be over N2.4billion.
He said the vessels, MT Eli Tank and one other, were arrested at separate locations along the Ebi creeks and Agbami Oil Field between December 26, 2013 and January 14, 2014.
Usman said the arrested oil thieves were all Nigerians and they lacked necessary permits for the lifting of crude oil.
The Commander also said the documents they tendered were not the required ones, stressing that they were unable to tender relevant documents such as the Nigerian Port Authority bunkering permit and the NNPC nomination for crude oil lifting.
He added, “They (suspects) lack the certificate of registration with the Joint Military Task Force and did not have the Navy Headquarters approval for the movement of petroleum products within the command’s area of responsibility.”
He assured Nigerians that the naval authorities would sustain the tempo of waterways and creeks’ surveillance in the Niger Delta.
“It underscores the determination of the Nigerian Navy and the Central Naval Command in particular, to completely eradicate oil theft, illegal bunkering and other illegalities in the Nigerian waters,” Usman said.