In a recent development, the Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) carried out a successful operation resulting in the arrest of an oil vessel named MV Ofuoma, along with its crew of 10 members.
The vessel was reportedly conveying what is believed to be illegally refined petroleum products in Rivers state according to NAN.
The operation, which took place on August 15th, saw the apprehension of MV Ofuoma at the Abuloma jetty in Port-Harcourt. The arrest was executed by the Nigerian Navy Ship, Pathfinder, under the representation of Component Commander OPDS, Commodore John Siyanbade, on behalf of OPDS Commander Rear Adm. Olusegun Ferreira.
According to Commodore John Siyanbade, MV Ofuoma was being utilized as a storage facility for unlawfully refined oil products.
- He said, “The vessel was receiving product suspected to be illegally refined AGO from a dug-out wooden boat alongside it. As it was intercepted by OPDS, about 20,000 litres of the product have already been transferred from the dug-out boat to the vessel.
- “Currently, we have about 35,000 litres still remaining on board as you have seen. The operation was conducted by troops of the JTF Operation Delta Safe Headquarters.”
The commander further disclosed that the apprehended suspects included both the crew members aboard the vessel and those operating the boat.
- He stated, “The suspects have given credible information about where they source the product from; the operation is ongoing to deactivate the illegal refining site in the area, and the operation will be ongoing for some time.”
Assuring continued dedication, Commodore Siyanbade emphasized that OPDS would persist in its endeavours to eradicate crude oil theft and other forms of illegality in the region.
He sternly warned those involved to seek legitimate means of livelihood before facing the consequences of their actions.
What you should know
Nigeria has been battling crude oil theft and illegal oil refining in the oil-rich Niger Delta for decades. It is estimated that the country loses millions of USD daily to oil theft.
Recently, the newly appointed National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Mallam Nuhu Ribadu said the country loses as much as 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily to the activities of illegal refiners.
This problem has resulted in a huge revenue shortfall and an inability to meet OPEC’s target production quota for the country. For the month of July, the nation’s crude oil production stood at 1.2mbpd, far below OPEC’s quota.