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Navy destroys illegal oil refining sites in Rivers, Bayelsa, Ondo

The Nigerian Navy has set ablaze four illegal oil refining sites in Rivers, Bayelsa and Ondo States between Saturday and Sunday.

The Nigerian Navy, in a series of posts on its social media handles Monday said the clampdown on oil thieves in the Niger Delta was part of the Operation Delta Sanity.

The Navy said its Ship Pathfinder, “discovered and deactivated a wooden boat conveying about 4,500 litres of illegally refined diesel along Bakama axis in Rivers State on Sunday”.

Same day, the Navy disclosed that its Forward Operating Base Formoso, discovered and destroyed an illegal refining site with a large oven of about 40,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil at Brass River and Akansa general area in Bayelsa State.

Similarly, the troops discovered and set fire on another illegal refining site laden with equipment, drums and pits with a storage capacity of about 30,000 litres of crude oil at Okrika in Rivers State on Sunday.

It was added further that “Nigerian Navy Ship Soroh discovered, deactivated and destroyed an illegal refining tite laden with equipment, speedboats and drums at Gbaram and Agbura communities in Bayelsa State” on March 2.

In Ondo State, Forward Operating Base, Igbokoda, was said to have uncovered and deactivated an illegal refining site laden with pits, ovens and storage tanks of about 30,000 litres of crude oil at Ilaje Local Government Area of the State on Friday, saaying the products were handled in accordance with extant directives.”

The Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft had reportedly arrested a Ghana-owned motor tanker, Sweet Miri, involved in suspected crude oil theft.

The vessel was arrested 174 nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria, approximately 320 kilometres, heading to Benin Republic.

According to a statement by the NNS Base Information Officer, Lieutenant H. Ibrahim, the motor vessel had 13 crew: one Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians, onboard at the time of arrest.

The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral MB Hassan, was quoted in the statement, as saying that the vessel was carrying about two million litres of the suspected product without approval and had switched off its Automatic Identification System to avoid detection.

Oil theft has been identified as one of the factors responsible for the inability of Nigeria to increase its daily oil production.

Perpetrators of the act appear not to be backing down despite efforts by the government to stem the tide.

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