Nigerian Navy Arrest 30 Oil Vessels For Bunkering In Nigeria

The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) of the Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Henry Babalola, has disclosed that the Command has arrested over thirty vessels and destroyed some equipment and facilities used for illegal bunkering and refining of stolen crude oil.

Babalola made the disclosure at the weekend during a dinner staged to mark the end of a three-day Annual Sea Inspection of combat facilities in the commands’ area.

In an interview session with journalists in Calabar, the FOC said: “In the last six months, we have arrested well over thirty Ships, tug boats and barges and almost on a daily basis, my operation men in Port Harcourt, Ikot Abasi, Calabar, Bonny and Ibaka go on aggressive patrols and we have destroyed numerous illegal refineries, we have seized equipments and destroyed several of their formations and it is a continuous exercise.

Babalola said though the task given to the navy on maritime environment is very daunting, but the officers and ratings are equal to the task.
“To police four thousand square nautical miles is not an easy task. We have been doing this with other commands of the navy.

“We have carried out very numerous arrests and by the record from the oil industry, there is tremendous reduction in the crude oil theft,” he said.
Despite these successes, the FOC said there were still challenges in tackling other forms of criminal activities.

He said: “The major security challenge facing us on the sea now is the problem of kidnapping and hostage taking and I’m happy to inform you that the Chief of Naval Staff has allocated some new patrol boats to combat these head-on. We are also expecting other patrol boats being constructed in Port Harcourt and when we have those boats on our waters, there will be a very very significant reduction of piracy.”

He said the command is working with the governors of the littoral ‎ states under the command.

“The governors have attested to the fact that we have performed very well given the scarce resources available because the navy is extremely capital intensive to run.

“For example, the flagship of the eastern naval command, NNS Thunder takes about 890,000 litres of Diesel to go to sea for about 8 to 9 days sea patrol exercise,” Babalola said.
Speaking on the fate of those arrested in the course of operation of the command, Babalola said: “When we arrest a ship ‎our focus is not on the crew because the crew members were doing their jobs, we go further to look at those behind it; and our job is to effect arrest, carry out preliminary investigations and hand them over to the relevant security agencies, like EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ), Police and the Civil Defence and will go further to be witnesses at court during their trials.”
On the import of the inspection, he said, “the sea inspection is the reflection of the navy day- to- day duties for the protection of the economic assets of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This particular exercise is aimed at protecting these multi-million dollars ‎offshore investments.
“The important aspect is that we will continue to maintain a credible presence in our maritime environment to give confidence to legal and lawful users of the sea and to protect the expatriates and Nigerians working with these oil companies.
The FOC said the command was grateful to the federal government and the Chief of Naval Staff who directed that focus be placed on continuous hunting for the oil thieves, stressing that sooner than later, the oil thieves would be caught.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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