JTF arrests 7 over alleged illegal bunkering in Rivers

Jimitota Onoyume

26 July 2012, Sweetcrude, PORT HARCOURT— THE Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, has intensified its fight against oil thieves with the arrest of seven persons over illegal bunkering at the Isaka creeks in Rivers State.

Assistant Media Coordinator of JTF in the region, Lieutenant-Commander Ayi Basil Ayi, disclosed this in Okrika on Wednesday as he handed over a tug boat used by the bunkerers to its owner, saying investigation showed that he (the owner) was not aware the barge the tug boat was hired to tow was carrying illegal crude.

“The tugboat and its four-man crew were found culpable as they were contracted by the barge owners to tow the barge after her engines developed problem. This event is particularly important because it serves to assure the operators of the maritime sub-sector of the economy and all others engaged in legitimate petroleum business that JTF will not disrupt legitimate businesses.”

He said owners of the barge conveying the illegal crude will be prosecuted.

About the Author