Navy battles illegal refining, maritime crimes

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Rear Admiral Christian Ezekobe

Nigerian Navy has intensified clampdown on illegal crude oil thieves, illegal refineries and other maritime crimes in Niger Delta.

The Navy said that more illegal refineries have been raided between December 19 and December 24.

With the period, 23 illegal refinery sites were raided mainly in Obodo, Ajosolo, Isaba and Olakpashe creeks in Warri South West Local Government of Delta State.

Rear Admiral Christian Ezekobe, Director of Naval Information, said in a statement on Friday that about 396 Metric-Tons (MT) of suspected illegally refined AGO and about 1,060MT of suspected stolen crude oil were destroyed.

He said that three suspects linked to the sites were also apprehended.

The Navy patrol team also raided an illegal refinery site at Ibeno community in Ibeno Local Government in Akwa Ibom State.

The raid which was conducted in conjunction with security partners led to the destruction of two Cotonou boats, and six drums containing suspected illegally refined kerosene.

A wooden barge conveying about 110MT of suspected illegally refined kerosene had been intercepted at the Federal Ocean Terminal/Federal Lighter Terminal (FOT/FLT) anchorage in Onne Rivers State.

He said that the vigilance of the service personnel helped to avert the departure of more than 47 stowaways who attempted to leave the country illegally onboard some merchant vessels.

He said that the Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, has commended efforts in clearing illegal refinery sites and mitigating other security threats in the maritime areas.

The CNS 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 in order to enhance the security of their vessels.’’

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