Oil theft: JTF impounds loaded vessel, arrests 21 suspects

JTF arrests21 April 2013, Yenagoa – The Joint Task Force, JTF, Operation Pulo Shield on Sunday said it impounded a vessel allegedly laden with some 2,500 tonnes of crude at Okuboto creek in Bayelsa.

Lt.-Col. Onyema Nwackukwu, the spokesman for operation pulo shield, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Yenagoa that the arrest was made in continuation of JTF’s anti oil theft raid operations.

Nwachukwu said that the vessel was on the verge of filling the fourth of its compartments before it was intercepted by a team of operatives from Sector 2 of the JTF.

The vessel is currently in custody of Headquarters Sector 2 for preliminary investigations prior to prosecution.
Also a barge, allegedly engaged in oil theft activities, has been impounded along Golubo creek of Bayelsa while conveying stolen petroleum product.

The JTF spokesman said the crew fled into the mangrove forest on sighting operatives of the JTF, abandoning their barge.

The barge has been towed to AGIP Brass Terminal for safe custody while preliminary investigation is ongoing to identify the owners.

In another anti-oil theft raid operation in Delta by troops of the JTF, 30 boats conveying alleged illegally refined petroleum products were intercepted along Aruton and Ugborodo communities.

He explained that the boats were arrested loaded with plastic tanks filled with stolen petroleum product.

The JTF also recovered other items, including 11 hand gloves, one packet of electrode, a bunch of clips and 2 pumping machines.

Nwachukwu said the operation, which lasted from April 7 to 14, saw the destruction of eight illegal crude oil refinery camps along Oboro, Kpukpugbene in Burutu and Sagara, near Escravos in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta.

Also nine steel tanks and 187 large plastic reservoirs used by the oil thieves to perpetrate the crime at the camp sites were destroyed at the site where they were discovered.

The spokesman further said that 21 suspects, arrested in various crime locations, were currently undergoing preliminary investigations in various sectors of the task force and would be subsequently handed over to prosecuting agencies.

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