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Navy impounds 3 Oil Smuggling Vessels, 42 Oil Vandals, Thieves in Rivers State.

The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Pathfinder as part of its war on illegal maritime sabotage activities, has arrested three (3) oil smuggling vessels containing over 1.5million stolen refined automated gasoline oil more popularly known as AGO.

Authorities of Pathfinder also said 42 suspected oil thieves involved in various oil thefts and vandalization had been arrested.

Executive Officer of NNS Pathfinder, Captain Victor Choji made the disclosure aboard one of the seized vessels, MT Animo saying it was arrested on Monday 29, 2017 while the second vessel, MT Santos was intercepted May 30th 2017.

Disclosing that the vessels were intercepted at different locations with some of the crew members arrested by operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Pathfinder, Choji said MT Eunice was also one of the vessels impounded.

He added that the vessel was laden with over 1 million litres of petroleum product suspected to have been stolen.

 Continuing he stated that MT Anino was intercepted at the Federal Ocean Terminal in Onne, with 26 suspects arrested, 16 suspects, who were crew members of MT Santos were arrested at the Federal Ocean Terminal Anchorage at the Onne Port in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.

While handing over the vessels to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for further investigation, Choji said the Navy was determined to fight oil theft to a standstill.

 “In line with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, for the Navy to keep the nation’s waterways safe and secure and conducive for socio-economic activities to thrive, the NNS Pathfinder on routine patrol intercepted at 23.50hours on 29th May 2017 a vessel, MT Anino, operating with a one million litre barge laden with un-quantified illegally refined AGO with about 26 crew members on board.

 “Additionally, on the 30th May, 2017, another one million litre barge was intercepted also around Onne community and also laden with unquantified illegally refined AGO.”

He stated also that the Nigerian Navy remained determined to ensure that the Rivers State maritime environment remained safe, secure and conducive for lawful business to grow.

 “Let me assure the law abiding members of the public that NNS Pathfinder has raised its activities against crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and all forms of illegality in the Rivers State maritime environment.

“To the criminals, there is no more hiding place for you in Rivers State. We have dominated the area; we have put in place strategies to ensure that they do not operate and have safe havens in this area.”

 Choji announced that the 42 suspects would be handed over to the relevant authority for further investigation and prosecution.

 Also speaking, Senior Detective Superintendent in the EFCC, Mr. Macaulay Olayinka, said they were taking over the vessels for further investigations describing illegal refining and oil theft as sabotage to the nation’s economy, explained that the EFCC had zero tolerance for illegally dealing in petroleum products, adding that culprits will not be spared.












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