In continuation of its efforts at containing maritime crimes, the Nigerian Navy has averted plans by 47 stoaways to escape the shores of Nigeria to foreign countries through merchant ships.
This is as the Navy also intensified the ongoing clampdown on illegal crude oil thieves, illegal refineries and other related crimes in the maritime areas.
Director of Naval Information, Rear Admiral Christian Ezekobe who made the disclosure in a statement, said, ” Between 19 – 24 December 2016, the NN recorded an impressive result in this regard.
” This is even as 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.
“From the foregoing, the patrol team deployed by NNS DELTA arrested the Captain of a merchant Vessel, one Mr Solomon Perebo for his alleged involvement in pipeline vandalism.
“Additionally, under this period of time, 23 illegal refinery sites were raided by the Base’s patrol teams mainly in Obodo, Ajosolo, Isaba and Olakpashe creeks in Warri South West LGA of Delta State.
“During the raid, about 396 Metric-Tons (MT) of suspected illegally refined AGO and about 1,060MT of suspected stolen crude oil were destroyed, 3 suspects linked to the sites were also apprehended.
“In a related development, the patrol team deployed by NNS JUBILEE raided an illegal refinery site at Ibeno community in Ibeno LGA of Akwa Ibom State.
“The raid which was conducted in conjunction with security partners resulted to the destruction of 2 cotonou boats, and 6 drums containing suspected illegally refined AGO.
“Meanwhile, operatives of NNS PATHFINDER have intercepted a wooden barge conveying about 110MT of suspected illegally refined AGO around the Federal Ocean Terminal/Federal Lighter Terminal (FOT/FLT) anchorage in Onne Rivers State.
“This feat is sequel to the interception of another barge laden with about 50MT of suspected illegally refined AGO around Ikpokiri in Onne Rivers State.
“Consequently, the Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas has commended the efforts of the personnel in driving the process of 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 Navy 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.”