The Nigerian Navy has arrested a vessel, MT TIS IV, ladened with 700,000 litres of suspected illegally sourced crude oil worth $315,500 (N148,281,000) at the Akassa River in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Also arrested on board the vessel, were 15 crew members suspected to be oil thieves and 5 other suspected collaborators, all Nigerians.
This was contained in a press release signed by the Commander, NNS Soroh, Commodore Patrick Effah and made available to newsmen today in Yenagoa.
According to the statement, the vessel, with its crew, was arrested on December 6 2021, for its indulgence in crude oil theft.
Commodore Effah noted that the arrest was in line with the Chief of Naval Staff’s Strategic Directives 2021 – 05 which directed Naval Bases to curb all forms of maritime crimes within the nation’s waters.
He further disclosed that the Navy, in an effort to identify the source of the stolen crude, was led to the spot where about four dug out pits, containing unspecified quantity of crude oil, were discovered which is much more than what was found aboard the vessel, adding that the discovered storage pit has been reported to the relevant oil and gas company for evacuation.
The statement reads, “The arrest is one of the numerous successes recorded by the Nigerian Navy in its ongoing Operation Quiet Waters aimed at dominating Nigeria’s maritime environment towards creating deterrence in order to create a secure maritime environment for economic activities to thrive.
“NNS Soroh has been relentless in identifying and arresting perpetrators of crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and other maritime crimes. It is noteworthy that the Nigerian Navy remains unwavering in its drive to rid Nigeria’s maritime environment of all forms of criminalities.
“This drive can be justified by the recently commissioned vessels by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and as I speak, some of the newly commissioned naval vessels and other vessels are at sea patrolling the nation’s exclusive economic zone. It might interest you to know that the Chief of Naval Staff is currently at sea for Exercise Quiet Waters.
“I must add that the arrest of MT TIS IV is one of a series of arrests recently made by the Nigerian Navy. Accordingly, let me seize this opportunity to warn miscreants and intending economic saboteurs to desist from acts of criminality as they have no hiding place and will be caught.
“Note that the maritime domain awareness facilities of the Nigerian Navy are well equipped to detect and flag vessels engaged in all forms of maritime crimes within Nigerian waters and beyond.
“While warning criminals, I want to also thank other security agencies and stakeholders more especially the Chief of Defence Staff through Operation Delta Safe and the Chief of the Naval Staff for the support given to the Base to enhance her operations.
“On a final note, let me reiterate that the Nigerian Navy remains unwavering in its drive to curb all forms of criminalities within Nigeria’s maritime environment.