This Day (Lagos)

13 February 2013

Nigeria: JTF Impounds Two Vessels, Destroys 23 Illegal Refineries

The Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield Tuesday arrested two ocean-going vessels and two barges for illegal oil bunkering activities in the Niger Delta waterways.

Also, the task force said it had destroyed 23 illegal refineries in the region, just as it arrested 52 suspects, who were allegedly involved in various oil related crimes and were currently undergoing investigation.

The JTF in a statement by its spokesman, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said the vessels were arrested along the waterways of Akassa in Bayelsa State and Otokolomobio near Oloma in Bonny Island of Rivers State, while carrying out illegal oil bunkering activities in the region.

According to him, the vessels which are currently berthing in NPA Jetty Bonny Island, Rivers State are MT SOPHIA and MT EVEREST 1.

Nwachukwu, who said the arrest were made by officers of the task force, while on routine patrol along the creeks and waterways of the nation, said: "A similar raid was also carried out along Ughoton River in Okpe and Saghara pipeline Inlet Channel in Warri South, Delta State where 23 illegal oil refineries were destroyed.

"The JTF also arrested five wooden barges popularly known as Cotonou boats conveying stolen petroleum products. The boats were arrested along Ugbokodo community in Warri South-west Local Government Area of Delta State and Obi Creek at Ikomogbemi, Otua, Tebidaba and Akassa communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

"During these raids, which were carried out from January 19 to February 8, 2013, 52 suspects involved in various oil related crimes were arrested and are currently undergoing preliminary investigation before being handed over to prosecuting agencies."

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