Navy Impounds Vessel Laden With 350,000 Litres Of 'Stolen, Illegally Refined' Diesel

The Nigerian Navy on Wednesday announced that personnel of its NNS Pathfinder in Port Harcourt, Rivers State impounded a Marine Vessel (MV Cecilia), laden with about 350,000 litres of suspected stolen diesel.

Commander of Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) of the Navy, Rear Admiral Olusegun Ferrera, who was represented by the maritime component commander of the joint task force for South South of the Operation Delta Safe, Commodore, Adedokun Siyanbade, showed the vessel to journalists in Port Harcourt.

The Naval Commander said the vessel, which was not been put in use for two years, was converted to a storage tank for illegally refined petroleum products. 

He said based on intelligence, the Navy conducted an operation that led to seizure of the vessel - MV Cecelia. 

He said, “As part of the efforts at optimizing and ensuring that the mandate of the OPDS are actualised the Commander Joint Task Force South south of OPDS directed the NNS Pathfinder base on credible intelligence to conduct a convert operation in this area and the intelligence was based on the fact of illegality going on within this area.

“The operation was conducted yesterday, 15th of August, 2023 and the operation led to the arrest of MV Cecilia with a vessel that ought to be a service vessel but has been converted to storage tank of illegally refined products suspected to be AGO. The vessel has the capacity all together including the fuel and water capacity of about 350,000 litres.

“The water tanks have been converted as storage tanks for this illegal products and the vessel has not been to sea for the past two years. It was expected to be under maintenance but it’s being used for a different purpose whereby people from illegal refinery sites bring their products to this place to discharge, whereby other people also come here to purchase the product.

“So, the vessel has been arrested and necessary procedures will be taken in line with extant regulation binding operation Delta Safe operation and I am also to inform you that in Rivers State on Monday two tankers were also arrested. The tankers which were laden with 30,000 litres of product suspected to be crude oil were also arrested by Joint sector 3 of Operation Delta Safe including land component and water component.

“They were caught siphoning crude oil from a dug out pit in Obio general area of Rivers State. So, for this vessel and those tankers as well necessary actions will be taken in line with extant regulation,” Siyanbade said.

He noted that the arrested suspects as well as the vessel and products will be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation and prosecution.

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