Oil theft: Navy arrests 117 suspects, six vessels

Vice Admiral Zubairu Gambo

The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo said the Nigerian Navy arrested 117 suspects and seized six over alleged theft of products

Gambo said the and seizures were made in the last five weeks by operatives deployed for Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (Stop the Thief), a reinvigorated against crude thieves, refiners and saboteurs.

He spoke in the 10th SECUREX West Africa, an international security exhibition in the Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, where he delivered a keynote paper titled “Protecting National Infrastructure: Tackling Maritime Crimes; Protecting Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Ports.”

According to him, 51 illegal refining sites were deactivated, 563 metal storage tanks and 341 dug out pits destroyed within the same , re-echoing that saboteurs were denied over 17,793,432 litres of crude oil, 5,490,670 litres of illegally refined AGO, and 129,000 litres of DPK, all valued in over N10.7billion.

One of the vessels arrested was identified as MV TOKONI, which was sighted through the FALCON EYE facility on May 2 while sailing off Escravos with its Automatic Identification System turned off.

“A quick history revealed the vessel was within the creeks for weeks. Accordingly, a naval vessel was vectored and MV TOKONI was intercepted about 100nm South, off the coast of Benin Republic.  It was observed that the vessel was laden with 548,000 litres of stolen crude oil.   “The vessel and crew were subsequently arrested and escorted to Lagos harbour for further investigation and prosecution,” said the CNS.

While advocating a database for maritime especially pirates, Gambo noted that most of the criminals migrate to other within the sub-region to their activities once they have been arrested, and done their times.

He said: “Despite the NN’s effort in that maritime crimes are reduced, new to unfold due to the dynamic nature of criminals. The intensity and trans-national nature of maritime crimes within the region requires a more diligent record and data capturing identity of .”

“Sadly, lack of database on identified criminals has allowed perpetrators of maritime crimes to relocate from one country to the other without being identified. Some persons who have been prosecuted for maritime crimes on completion of their jail terms have resumed their criminal activities in other countries unnoticed.”


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