Yenagoa — The Nigerian Navy has arrested 21 persons over alleged involvement in crude oil theft along the waterways of Agbami Oilfield in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Also two vessels allegedly involved in oil theft loaded with 2.111 million litres of crude oil valued at N2.4bn were seized.
The vessels, MT Eli Tank and one other, were intercepted at separate points along the Ebi creeks and Agbami Oilfield between December 26, 2013 and January 13, 2014.
According to the statement by the Flag Officer Commanding the Central Naval Command of the Navy, Rear Admiral Sidi-Ali Hassan Usman, the arrested oil thieves were all Nigerians.
He said they lacked necessary permits for the lifting of crude oil. According to the Navy, the documents tendered were not the required ones.
He said: "They were unable to tender relevant documents such as Nigerian Port Authority bunkering permit and the NNPC nomination for crude oil lifting.
"And they lack the certificate of registration with the Joint Task Force and did not have the Naval Headquarters approval for the movement of petroleum products within the command area of responsibility."
The navy also vowed to sustain the tempo of waterways and creek surveillance in the Niger Delta.
He said: "It underscores the determination of the Nigerian Navy and the Central Naval Command, in particular, to eradicate oil theft, illegal bunkering and other illegality in the Nigeria waters."