Oil theft: Navy to identify, target ‘sore points’

Ghana navy11 March 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Nigerian Navy says it aims to establish the “sore points” for the criminal activities of crude oil thieves in the Nigerian territorial waters, maintaining that it would be targeting such areas in its operations.

This is part of new measures by the Navy to arrest oil theft and save for the nation the huge income being lost to the ugly trend.

Disclosing this in Lagos, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, said: “What we have decided to do is to establish the areas that are notorious for these criminal activities. Instead of wasting time to pursue shadow, we have decided to change our strategy and tactics of doing these jobs”.

He added: “With that, all I intend to do is to properly deploy our boats and vessels to areas we will establish as sore points and make sure that all would-be culprits, suspects or persons involved in criminality are brought to justice.”

Jibrin, who also decried piracy and illegal fishing in Nigerian waters, said the arrest of these activities would substantially raise the level of income flowing into Federal Government coffers.

The naval chief expressed the concern of other countries around the Gulf of Guinea over crude oil theft, piracy and other crimes within the area as he hinted of the success of their joint co-operation in policing the area.

According to him, this co-operation was at play during the recent piracy incident involving the ship, MT Kerela.

He stated that soon after the incident was reported, the Nigerian Navy deployed boats to go after the ship.

He said: “Right within our shore or waters, we mounted surveillance, kept them (pirates) busy and kept them on their toes that they could not land on our habours. After sometime, they released the ship and the people that were captured.

“We wanted to interrogate them. They refused to disclose their identities. What we did was to trail them to the Port of Tema.

“We alerted the Chief of Naval Staff in Ghana. They too deployed their boats accordingly and arrested MT Karela. And under our directives, MT Karela was arrested and is still under custody for further investigation in the Port of Tema in Ghana”.

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