25 November 2011, Sweetcrude, Yenagoa – The Nigerian Navy has seized five vessels and arrested 42 suspects involved in oil theft in Bayelsa State.
The arrests were made by the Naval Forward Operating Base in Brass Local Government Area of the state.
Officer in charge of the base, Navy Capt. Aminu Hassan, who disclosed this, listed the seized vessels as MT Beskids, MV Raah, MV Victor 1, MV Fear God and Love Marine, adding that they were all seized along the Nun River within a month.
He said the Navy also destroyed 55 illegal refineries and 18 wooden boats with illegally refined petroleum products and crude oil in the creeks.
He disclosed that the vessels and products have been transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the state Command of the Nigerian Police Force at the base on Wednesday and that the two agencies would carry out further investigations and prosecution of the suspects.
Beskid and 11 suspects were handed over to the EFCC while others were transfered to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit of the police as the Navy lacked the capacity to prosecute suspects.
“Within one month, we have carried out operation within the waterways and about 65 illegal refineries were destroyed. Eighteen large wooden boats containing AGO and crude oil including facilities used in committing the crime were destroyed,,” he said.
He added: “The worth of the goods seized so far amount to hundreds of millions of naira. We are not happy with what is happening because it amounts to economic sabotage. War ships and helicopters have been deployed in this area.”
The leader of the EFCC team, Ade Hatsrup, who received the suspects, said they would be prosecuted.