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Troops arrest illegal oil vessel, 10 crew members in Rivers

Troops on MV Ofuoma, an oil vessel carrying 'illegally refined' petroleum products Troops on MV Ofuoma, an oil vessel carrying 'illegally refined' petroleum products

The joint task force of Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) says it has arrested MV Ofuoma, an oil vessel, and 10 crew members conveying “illegally refined petroleum products” in Rivers state.

John Siyanbade, the component commander of the task force, said MV Ofuoma was arrested on August 15 at Abuloma jetty in Port Harcourt by the Nigerian Navy ship, Pathfinder.

Speaking at the site on behalf of Olusegun Ferreira, a rear admiral, Siyanbade said the vessel was used as a storage facility for illegally refined petroleum products.

“The vessel was receiving product suspected to be illegally refined AGO from a dugout wooden boat alongside it,” he said. 

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“As it was intercepted by OPDS, about 20,000 litres of the product have already been transferred from the dugout boat to the vessel. Currently, we have about 35,000 litres still remaining on board.

“The operation was conducted by troops of the JTF Operation Delta Safe Headquarters.”

Siyanbade said the 10 suspects intercepted comprise both the crew on board the vessel and those on the boat.

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“The suspects have given credible information about where they source the product from; operation is ongoing to deactivate the illegal refining site in the area, and the operation will be for some time,” the commander said.

He added that the task force would not relent in its efforts to eradicate crude oil theft and other forms of illegality in the region.

Siyanbade advised individuals involved to seek legitimate means of livelihood before they are apprehended.

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