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2023: ‘Navy Destroys 703 Illegal Refining Sites, Arrests 232 Suspects For Crude Oil Theft’ – Naval Chief Rolls Out Successes

The Nigerian Navy between January and December 2023, destroyed 703 illegal refining sites and arrested 5 barges, 690 Cotonou boats laden with stolen crude, 116 speed boats as well as 232 suspects engaged in Crude Oil Theft. 

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla disclosed this today during his crucial meeting with operational Commanders at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja.

He said the meeting is not only to appraise Nigerian Navy efforts in curbing Crude Oil Theft (COT), but also to ignite a fiercer resolve to defeat the scourge of Crude Oil Theft that plagues the nation. “Commendably, we have made significant strides in the last few months. Your individual and collective dedications have yielded tangible results”, he affirmed

Unveiling the successes, and achievements recorded as a result of deliberate strategic policy formulation, operational implementation and tactical execution, the Naval Chief revealed that in 2023, troops arrested 82 vehicles/trucks and 23 vessels.

He said, among the vessels arrested include MT MARINE EXPRESS, MT CECILIA, MT UFUOMA, MT VIGOR I, MV BARGE AYEBA ENENI, FT LAMU and MT VINNALARIS I LAGOS among others.

“Arising from these, 46, 369,219 ltrs of AGO, 2,472,200 ltrs of DPK and 438, 886 ltrs of PMS were recovered. Similarly, the Nigerian Navy recovered 803, 353.20 bbls of crude oil. At current market values, the seizures made translate to about One Hundred and Five Billion Naira. 

Naval Chief added the Nigerian Navy has been active in the fight against illicit-drugs trafficking especially within the maritime domain. Between April and November 2023, the NN arrested 692 bags of Cannabis Sativa, worth about One Billion, Three Hundred and Eighty Four Thousand Naira. The products have since been handed over to the NDLEA as required by law.

He charged all Commander to have renewed vigour, utilize all available resources to anticipate criminal activity and disrupt their operations before they can even begin. Saturate the waters with credible presence. 

“Let every illegal vessel know that they will be hunted down, intercepted, and brought to justice. Also, you must foster seamless collaboration with sister Services, relevant government agencies as well as duly recognised private surveillance companies, to ensure a unified front against crude oil theft,” he stressed 

He also affirmed that the Nigerian Navy remains committed to sustaining and collaborating with all stakeholders in the fight against COT and other forms of maritime crimes. “Most importantly, you must remember that the NN is and remains the guardian of our blue frontier, the defender of our wealth, and the shield that protects the nation’s future.”

The Naval Chief noted that any officer or rating that is found to be involved in this unwholesome act will be punished to the full extent of the law. you are to uphold the highest ethical standards and never compromise your integrity. Let me at this juncture caution that under my watch there is zero tolerance for Crude Oil Theft. 

He reiterated his stand with all Commanders in this fight. He said he is committed to providing the resources and leadership needed to defeat crude oil theft. 

He thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has readily provided the resources and moral support needed by the Nigerian Navy to prevail. “With the support of Mr President, we are working tirelessly to equip you with the tools to dominate the maritime domain – faster boats, advanced surveillance technology and robust intelligence networks. But resources alone are not the answer. 

“The NN needs your unwavering commitment, strategic brilliance and steadfast courage. You must also be accountable for the resources entrusted to you. Your ability to efficiently utilize the resources at your disposal to achieve the best results will single you out as a commander worthy of trust and emulation. 

“Each of you holds within you the power to turn the tide. Let history remember that this era as the time when the NN, under your command, turned the tide against crude oil theft and other forms of maritime crimes, thereby securing a brighter future for our nation.” he reiterated

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Admiral JD Akpan noted that the meeting is not just about reviewing statistics and achievements; it is about introspection, dissecting the effectiveness of strategies and forging a path towards even greater successes in the year ahead. 

“We stand at a critical juncture in our fight against COT and other maritime crimes. The far-reaching implications of the COT on our national survival demand a resolute response, and that response hinges on our ability to adapt, innovate, and refine our approach.

He noted that as the Year 2023 gradually comes to an end, the Chief of Naval Staff considers it that he meets with operational commanders for the Nigerian Navy’s operational activities in 2023, especially our efforts in the fight against Crude Oil Theft (COT). 

SpyeTV News reports that the Chief of Naval Staff meeting with Operational Commanders will be a catalyst for renewed action and a reaffirmation of commitment, with a plan, a roadmap etched with the resolve to defeat this menace and secure a prosperous maritime future for Nigeria.

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