The clampdown on illegal crude oil refineries and maritime crimes have been intensified by the Nigerian Navy.
This is contained in a statement signed by its Director of Information, Rear Adm. Christian Ezekobe, and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.
According to Ezekobe, between Dec. 19 and Dec. 24, the NN recorded an impressive result in this regard.
“This is even as the vigilance of the service personnel helped to avert the departure of more than 47 stowaways who attempted to leave the country illegally on board some merchant vessels.
“From the foregoing, the patrol team deployed by NNS DELTA arrested the Captain of a merchant Vessel, one Mr Solomon Perebo, for his alleged involvement in pipeline vandalism.
“Under this period, 23 illegal refinery sites were raided by the Base’s patrol teams mainly in Obodo, Ajosolo, Isaba and Olakpashe creeks in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta,” he said.
Ezekobe said that during the raid, about 396 metric tons (MT) of suspected illegally refined AGO and about 1, 060 MT of suspected stolen crude oil were destroyed, 3 suspects linked to the sites were also apprehended.
He also disclosed that the patrol team deployed by NNS JUBILEE had raided an illegal refinery site at Ibeno community in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.
He said the raid which was conducted in conjunction with security partners resulted to the destruction of 2 Cotonou boats and 6 drums containing suspected illegally refined AGO.
The Navy spokesman said operatives of NNS PATHFINDER had intercepted a wooden barge conveying about 110 metric tons of suspected illegally refined AGO around the Federal Ocean Terminal/Federal Lighter Terminal (FOT/FLT) anchorage in Onne, Rivers.
“This feat is sequel to the interception of another barge laden with about 50MT of suspected illegally refined AGO around Ikpokiri in Onne Rivers,” he said.
Ezokobe also said that the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, had commended the efforts of the personnel in driving the process of clearing illegal refinery sites and other security threats in the maritime areas.
He said Ibas also noted the increasing attempts by some desperate persons to board merchant vessels illegally as stowaways.
“In view of this, the NN wishes to remind Captains of merchant vessels and all seafarers to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement around their vessels to enhance the security of their vessels,” he said.