The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, on Thursday announced the seizure of a vessel laden with 1,000 litres of suspected stolen crude.
According to a statement signed by Lt.-Col Mustapha Anka, Media Coordinator of the JTF, and made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa, the crew members of the vessel are being interrogated.
The 25,000 tonne capacity vessel, named MV FLORA, and eight crew were intercepted by JTF’s Gun Boat Company along Lagosgbene Obi creek in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
The media coordinator said that the new Commander of JTF, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atawe, who assumed duties on March 8, has intensified the war against oil theft.
“Since Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atawe took over of Command of the Joint Task Force Operation PULO SHIELD on 8 March 2014, seven vessels and barges have been intercepted and arrested for illegal oil bunkering activities.
“Also, 85 illegal distillery camps were brought to total extinction while 196 suspects were also arrested, and presently at various stages of prosecution by the prosecuting agencies,” Anka stated.
He said also that, a patrol team of the JTF had destroyed four wooden boats filled with stolen crude oil along Bodo Creek in Rivers.
“A suspect was arrested while attempting to load crude oil into a Cotonuo boat from a Shell pipeline.
“The suspect was handed over to the JTF for a preliminary investigation before being handed over for prosecution.”
“In a similar operation, the Maritime Component of the JTF Nigeria Navy Ship also intercepted and destroyed four wooden boats, one welding machine, 3,000 drums and 15 pits filled with suspected stolen crude within the Niger Delta region,” he added.