THE Nigerian Navy said on Saturday it crushed and buried equipment used by oil thieves in 40 illegal refining sites located in the creeks of Niger Delta during its ‘Operation River Sweep 1’ campaign.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, who disclosed this in Port Harcourt to newsmen, said the strategy was aimed at preventing illegal oil bunkerers from returning to the destroyed sites.
According to Oluwole, the strategy, which has proved effective in the reduction of illegal oil bunkering, especially in the Command’s area of operation, is consistent with global environment best practices.
He said ‘Operation Rivers Sweep 2’ was aimed at wiping out illegal oil bunkering in the creeks.
Equipment destroyed by the outfit were 60 large wooden boats that could contain 33,000 litres of petroleum products each, depending on the size, four speed boats, 5,240,000 litres of illegal refined AGO and four speed boats.
Oluwole explained that his command had introduced swamp buggies in the fight against illegal oil bunkering, adding that the equipment were used to destroy and bury drums and other tools used by oil thieves.
He said, “The Eastern Naval Command as directed by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Bias, conducted a swamp buggy operation on the illegal refinery sites destroyed during the ‘Operation River Sweep 1’.
“The Nigerian Navy as a major stakeholder in the protection of the maritime environment uprooted, destroyed and disposed all illegal refinery equipment in a manner that is consistent with global environment best practices. The method undoubtedly proved to be effective and impactful.
“We have now introduced swamp buggy and we now crush their (oil thieves) equipment and bury them. My advice is that communities who shield oil thieves should desist from such act.”