April 13, 2024

Oil theft: JTF impounds vessel, arrests two crew members in River

Oil theft: JTF impounds vessel, arrests two crew members in River

Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

The Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), on Thursday, said it impounded a vessel MV Mother Mary I, and arrested two crew members for complicity and being laden with illegal refined products in the Federal Ocean Terminal in Onne, Eleme Council Area of Rivers.

Addressing newsmen, the Component Commander OPDS, Commodore John Siyanbade, who represented the OPDS Commander, Rear Adm. Olusegun Ferreira, said on October 29, 2023, a vessel by the name Mother Mary I was arrested by his team from the Headquarters OPDS in connection with a vessel with plastic tanks being used as a storage for illegally refined products.

The OPDS had arrested a vessel MV Ufuoma in the month of July 2023 along the Abuloma River, amongst others.

According to him, the vessel was arrested with 300,000 litres of illegally refined AGO, stating that the OPDS, is ready to tackle crude oil thieves bent on sabotaging critical national oil and gas assets.

He said in pursuant to the Chief of Defence mandate the OPDS has continued to intensify operations against crude oil theft and other illegalities and crimes in the joint task area.

The OPDS Commander said that two suspects were also arrested on board the vessel, on the day of arrest along the Bonny River channel.

According to him, not too long MV Cecilia and MV Ufuoma were seized and further investigations carried out have shown that vessels like this are been used as storage tanks for illegally refined AGO, from illegal refining sites.

“Other vessels and tankers take from them even in recent times, it has been found out that some companies take from them and organisations are patronising these markets for the people refining crude oil illegally.

He said that the suspects would be handed over to the appropriate authorities for possible prosecution. The commander, warns all those who indulged in illegality to stop and look for a legitimate business to venture into, or be prepared to face the law if they are caught.

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