Men of 19 Battalion of Nigerian Army, Koko, Warri North, Delta State, yesterday, intercepted and arrested a Lagos bound vessel, MV RAAF, with 15 crew members arrested onboard, at the Escravos high sea.
The commander of the squard, Lt Col. Peter Okoye, said the vessel was carrying 200 metric tons of illegally refined diesel, which he said, the crew members siphoned from an oil installation in a creek, near Escravos, in Warri South-West Local Government Area of the state, adding that the suspects, who were arrested with different items, including pliers, cutting machines, and other tools, had attempted to bribe the soldiers with N2 million with a promise to double the amount on getting to Lagos State, but the move was rebuffed by the soldiers.
The 15 crew members, who were paraded before newsmen, said they hailed from Lagos State, from where they came to Delta State, for their illegal bunkering mission. They confessed that it was not their first trip, and that it was what they do for a living. They also claimed that they were sponsored by a top businessman, who also resides in Lagos.
Lt Col. Okoye said the vessel was intercepted following a tip- off by his men at the Escravos high sea, and was taken to the Army headquarters in Koko, where it was subsequently set ablaze by the soldiers.