The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday said it had averted a ship hijack and destroyed more illegal refineries in the Niger Delta.
This is contained in a statement signed by its Director of Information, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, in Abuja.
According to the statement, Illegal crude oil thieves and vandals operating in the Niger Delta have suffered heavy losses as the Nigerian Navy intensifies its operations against their activities.
The statement recalled that in recent times, there had been increased patrols by Naval Operatives which led to the destruction of illegally operated local refineries and arrest of vandals.
“Indeed, this is a direct fallout of improved intelligence gathering and surveillance.
“Recently, Naval Patrol Team carried out raids at Ugborodo Itsekiri area in Warri South-West, where an illegal refinery with large storage pits containing liquid suspected to be crude oil was discovered.
“Also discovered in the site was a large Cotonou Boat laden with 37 drums of suspected illegally refined AGO, ” it said.
The statement also said that consequently, the refinery facilities were destroyed as the owners fled the scenes before the arrival of Nigerian Navy Team.
It said a raid conducted in the general areas of Ogbonga, Egbelema and adjoining creeks dealt a devastating blow on the activities of the illegal crude oil thieves.
“The Team in that raid also discovered 2 co-located active illegal refineries in Ogbonga creek, and destroyed 3 suspected crude oil storage tanks and 4 suspected AGO storage tanks.
“ In the Egbelema axis, an active illegal refinery was discovered with 2 storage tanks. The refinery site and other facilities used for the illicit business were destroyed,’’ the statement said.
It said based on a tip-off, the Naval Patrol Teams conducted a raid at better land Community and discovered an illegal refinery site with 8 storage tanks.
It said each of the 4 tanks contained approximately 20,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil, while the other 4 tanks contained about 10,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO each.
Other items discovered and destroyed by the Naval Patrol Team at the site include: 2 Cotonou Boats laden with suspected crude oil; 3 fibre speed boats as well as one electric power generator.
The statement added that the operators of the illegal refinery deserted the site before the arrival of the Naval Patrol Team.
The statement also said that the Nigerian Navy Ship, OKPABANA, had successfully averted a hijack attack on MT NORDIC FREEDOM around Agbami oil field, off all caps Brass.
“The BAHAMAS flagged vessel alerted the Naval Ship which was on routine patrol of the general area.
“On getting the alert, NNS OKPABANA ensured that MT NORDIC FREEDOM was protected from the sea pirates,” it said.
The statement appealed to law abiding sea farers not to entertain any fear and enjoined them to promptly alert the Nigerian Navy Patrol Teams of any suspicious activities around them. (NAN)