*Intensifies clampdown on crude oil thieves in N-Delta
By Kingsley Omonobi & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA — THE Nigerian Navy, said, yesterday, that a total of 47 stowaways on board some merchant vessels in the Niger Delta, preparatory to depart the shores of Nigeria were detected by the eagle eyes of its personnel and prevented from achieving their nefarious objectives.
The development came as it noted that it had intensified ongoing clampdown on illegal crude oil thieves, illegal refineries and other related crimes in the maritime areas.
To this end, it asked all captains of merchant vessels and all seafarers to be vigilant and report suspicious movement around their vessels in order to enhance the security of their vessels.
The Navy said the operation, which led to the successes within five days, last week, was conducted in conjunction with other security partners.
A statement by its Director of Information, Rear Admiral Christian Ezekobe, said the vigilance of the service personnel helped to avert the departure of the stowaways in the merchant vessels.
He said: “The vigilance of the service personnel helped to avert the departure of more than 47 stowaways who attempted to leave the country illegally onboard some merchant vessels.
“From the foregoing, the patrol team deployed by NNS Delta arrested the captain of a merchant vessel, one Mr Solomon Perebo, for his alleged involvement in pipeline vandalism.
“Additionally, under this period, 23 illegal refinery sites were raided by the Base’s patrol teams mainly in Obodo, Ajosolo, Isaba and Olakpashe creeks in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
“During the raid, about 396 metric tons of suspected illegally refined AGO and about 1,060 metric tons of suspected stolen crude oil were destroyed, three suspects linked to the sites were also apprehended.”