17 May 2011, Sweetcrude, Yenagoa – The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta codenamed Operation Pulo Shield the task yesterday announced the destruction of 218 illegal refineries, 151 surface tanks and oil dumps around Oporoza in the Ecravos waterways of Delta State, Alakiri waterside and the adjoining creeks of Sombreiro river in Abonema, Rivers State.
The renewed clamp down is coming on the heels of last week seizure and destruction of 2 vessels and arrest of 26 international illegal bunkerers along the Sombreiro River in Rivers State.
Spokesman of the Joint Task Force, Lt. Col Onyema Nwachukwu in a statement yesterday in Yenagoa said the security forces also intercepted and destroyed 159 wooden boats popularly referred to in the region as Cotonou boats with the capacity of 20,000 litres each and 27 barges used in conveying illegally siphoned crude oil to the illegal refineries.
Also intercepted and destroyed in this operation were 159 wooden boats popularly referred to in the region as Cotonou boats with the capacity of 20,000 litres each and 27 barges used to convey illegally siphoned crude oil to illegal refineries.
Other items recovered from these operations include 37 detonators which are believed to be used by the suspects to rupture pipelines. Gigantic hoses, generators, pumping machines, welding machines and gas cylinders were also recovered from the suspects.
He said though some of the suspects abandoned their illegal cargoes and fled, 18 of them were arrested and are currently undergoing preliminary investigations.
The JTF he declared will not spare any effort in combating illegal oil bunkering and refining in the region and called on all good and well meaning people of the region to partner with it in ensuring that the region is rid of those engaging in these atrocious ventures and consequently unleashing environmental and economic hardship on the region for their selfish gains.