The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS Soroh) has arrested a vessel “MT TIS IV” carrying 4,402 barrels of illegally sourced crude oil worth about $315,500 (N148,281,000) in Akassa River in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The Navy also arrested 20 suspected crude oil thieves onboard the vessel trying to lift the illegal crude to their destinations.
Speaking with newsmen on Monday, Commander NNS Soroh, Commodore Patrick Effah, disclosed that the Navy, during the arrest, identified the source of the stolen crude and was led by the suspects to the spot where about four dug out pits containing an unspecified quantity of crude oil was discovered, saying the quantity at the dug pits was much more than what was found on the vessel.
He said that the arrest of the vessel and suspects were carried out on December 6, 2021.
According to him, the vessel was found to be carrying about 700,000 litres which are about 603 metric tons or 4,402 barrels of illegally sourced crude oil worth about $315,500 (N148,281,000) without the requisite approval for such cargo.
He said: “The discovered storage pit has been reported to relevant Oil and Gas company for evacuation.
“The arrest is one of the numerous successes recorded by the Nigerian Navy in its ongoing Operation Quite Waters aimed at dominating Nigeria’s maritime environment towards creating deterrence to create secure economic activities to strive.
“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.
“As I speak, some of the newly commissioned naval vessels and other vessels are at sea patrolling the nation’s exclusive economic zone.
“Let me seize this opportunity to warn miscreants and intending economic saboteurs to desist from acts of criminality, as they have no hiding place.”