Oil theft: Joint Task Force arrest vessel, 10 crew members in Rivers

The Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) has reported the arrest of an oil vessel named MV Ofuoma and the apprehension of 10 crew members who were allegedly transporting illegally refined petroleum products in Rivers State.

Commodore John Siyanbade, who represented the OPDS Commander, Rear Adm. Olusegun Ferreira, revealed that MV Ofuoma was intercepted on August 15 at Abuloma jetty in Port-Harcourt by the Nigerian Navy Ship, Pathfinder.

The vessel was found to be functioning as a storage facility for illegally refined oil products. It was in the process of receiving suspected illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) from a wooden boat alongside it when intercepted by the OPDS. Approximately 20,000 liters of the product had already been transferred from the wooden boat to the vessel, and around 35,000 liters remained on board.

Commodore Siyanbade explained that the operation was conducted by troops of the JTF Operation Delta Safe Headquarters. The 10 suspects apprehended included both the crew members on board the vessel and those on the wooden boat.

He noted that the suspects had provided credible information about the source of the product, and an ongoing operation aimed to deactivate the illegal refining site in the area.

Commodore Siyanbade emphasized the OPDS’s commitment to eradicating crude oil theft and other forms of illegality in the region. He issued a warning to those involved in such activities to seek legitimate means of livelihood, as the security forces would continue their efforts to bring them to justice.

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