03 May 2014, Lagos – The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta said that it destroyed nine illegal refineries and impounded a barge laden with suspected stolen crude in multiple raids on oil thieves.
A statement issued by Lt.-Col. Mustapha Anka, Media Coordinator of JTF, in Yenagoa on Thursday stated that the raids were carried out within the last 10 days.
It stated that the barge, Dera 1 intercepted on Brass Creek, Brass Local Government Area of the state, was in custody of the JTF.
The JTF spokesman said the vessel and crew would be handed over to prosecuting agency after preliminary investigations were concluded.
In another raid, JTF troops destroyed eight illegal crude oil distillery camps on Tebidade Brass Agip pipeline in Gbamatoru Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
The statement stated that five crude oil and Automated Gas Oil (AGO) dumps filed with suspected stolen crude and illegally refined AGO were destroyed during the operation.
It further stated that the Maritime Component of the JTF patrolling on Okpumani Creek in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta intercepted two wooden boats laden with suspected stolen crude.
The spokesman said the troop seized and destroyed two pumping machines in an abandoned well head and a fibre boat on site.
The JTF, Anka stated, however, handed over a ship registered as MV LAME to the Management of Seatide Marine Ltd., arrested for it alleged involvement in movement of stolen crude.
He said the vessel was arrested on July 9, 2013 on Bonny Anchorage with about 100, 000 litres of illegally refined AGO.
“Our investigation that the product was unadulterated AGO which made the Defence Headquarters to order the release of the vessel and the crew. (NAN)