The Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, has in a daring operation in the notorious waterways of Akassa, an island on the Atlantic Ocean, arrested an ocean going vessel laden with over 600,000 metric tones of stolen diesel oil.
Located in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Akassa, has been the main area that illegal bunkering and vandalism of the nation’s oil facilities have been taking place.
Also arrested aboard the vessel, marked MV Tamuno Ibi, with registration No IMO 6709165, were 18 men. The JTF operation was led by Captain Rasheed Kolawole.
Documents bearing the logo of PWS Integrated Services Ltd. were found on the captain of the impounded vessel, identified as David Aguwo.
The documents showed that he was supposed to load 100,000 litres of petroleum product from ROH II at the Brass terminal, but he allegedly navigated into the creeks of Akassa, where the vessel was filled with 600,000 litres of AGO.
According to the JTF, the modus operandi of the oil thieves included the use of naval permit with their loading document, with which they enter the creeks where they usually load illegally refined AGO.
Addressing newsmen on board the impounded oil vessel on Tuesday evening, the media coordinator of JTF, Lt-Col Onyeama Nwachukwu, said: “At about 1700hrs yesterday, (Tuesday), troops from 5 Battalion intercepted a vessel christened MV Tamuno Ibi at Akassa, with about 600,000 litres of product.
"Although, he had tendered a permit, but we are unable to ascertain the authentic source of that permit.
“Going by the content of the permit, he is supposed to load about a 100,000 litres at barge ROH II in Brass, which is the legitimate loading point for all vessels.
"However, because these people are engaged in illegal oil bunkering, they veered into the creeks in Akassa, where they had loaded about 600,000 illegally refined AGO”.
Nwachukwu reiterating the resolve of the JTF to clamp down on the illegal operations of oil thieves in the Niger Delta, saying that the special security force would step up its operations to halt the inimical activities of economic saboteurs in the region.