Port Harcourt — The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base in Bonny has foiled the construction of an illegal refinery around Cawthorne Channel in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The feat, according to the Navy, was part of its renewed efforts against crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region under the umbrella of Operation Delta Sanity, recently launched by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.
The Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base, Bonny, Commodore Reginald Adoki, said operatives of the Base intercepted a group of criminals transporting metal sheets and rods for the construction of cooking ovens for illegal crude oil refining activities.
Adoki explained that the arrested suspects and exhibits have been handed over to the appropriate agency for further investigation and possible prosecution, in line with the Naval standard operating procedures.
He said, “In a decisive move against illegal bunkering activities, men of the FOB Bonny on Wednesday intercepted a group of criminals transporting metal sheets and rods intended to construct cooking ovens to refine stolen crude oil illegally.
“The items were intercepted during a patrol by operatives of the Base along the Cawthorne Channel in Degema LGA. The metal sheets and rods confiscated during the operation are critical to constructing makeshift ovens for processing stolen crude oil.
“The interception further led to the arrest of three individuals involved in the illicit trade. Upon interrogation, the arrested suspects admitted that the items were meant to be employed to construct cooking ovens for an illegal refining site around the Cawthorne Channel general area.
“It is worth mentioning that the patrol team also intercepted three large wooden boats and two small fibre boats laden with an estimated 20,500 litres of illegally refined automotive gas oil.
“The interception of such materials is part of intensified disruption operations aimed at cutting off the supply chain of illegal refining sites. It is also consonant with proactive measures emplaced under Operation Delta Sanity to curtail the activities of illegal refining sites within the Niger Delta region.
“The success of the operations would no doubt reduce the need to destroy illegal refining sites when completed. It would also protect the environment and prevent the need for crude oil theft. The arrested individuals would be held accountable for their involvement in activities that jeopardise both the safety and the integrity of the Niger Delta environment.”
The Naval Commander further disclosed that the source of the materials has been confirmed, saying that the Nigerian Navy will initiate actions to apprehend other parties involved in the illegal refining supply chain.
He noted that other Nigerian Naval bases have also commenced similar disruption operations to arrest construction materials for illegal refineries.
“These efforts, along with the swamp buggy operations launched to destroy existing illegal refineries, would curtail the activities of illegal refineries and, by extension, crude oil theft in the Niger Delta.”
This article was originally posted at sweetcrudereports.com