07 October 2013, Yenagoa — The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, weekend, intercepted two bunkering vessels on the Bonny Anchorage of Rivers State, arresting a Ghanaian and 25 others over alleged illegal lifting of crude oil and illegally distilled Automated Gas Oil (diesel).
The vessel, MILANDROS, was intercepted close to the west bank of Bonny Anchorage, where a six-inch diameter hose over a distance of 1,000 metres from the vessel had been connected to pipeline.
Also, another vessel, EBBA, belonging to PWS Integrated Service Limited, operating on the waterways without relevant registration documents was arrested on the Bonny anchorage with eight crew members on board and was laden with 282 tons of suspected illegally distilled diesel.
JTF Media Coordinator, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said that operatives of 146 Battalion Anti-Oil Theft patrol team, covering the Bonny axis of Sector 2 Area under the Command of Lt. Col. Lander Saraso, arrested the 12 crew members, made up of 11 Nigerians and a Ghanaian on board the vessel, MILANDROS for illegal oil bunkering in the Bonny Anchorage in Rivers State.
He said: “At the time of arrest, the vessel which was registered to sail under flagship of Sierra Leone was flying a Nigerian flag to deceive security operatives and was anchored at the west bank of Bonny Anchorage, where a 6-inch diameter hose over a distance of 1000 metres from the vessel had been connected to pipeline.
“Efforts are ongoing to track down the lead agent, Mr. Tumini Brown, who absconded from the Island on hearing of the arrest of the illegal oil bunkering vessel.”
Affected are several camps and 13 Cotonou boats used for conveying illegally acquired crude oil in Abutu, Ugbokoko and Ologbo in Orhionwon, Warri South and Warri North Local Government Areas of Edo and Delta states, respectively.
*Samuel Oyadongha, Vanguard