The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta, Warri, said on Saturday that it has destroyed 53 illegal refineries in Ashafama forest in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta.
The Commander of NNS Delta, Capt. Musa Gemu, told newsmen in Warri that 53 metric tonnes of crude was also burnt during an operation against bunkering in the area.
He, however, said no suspect was apprehended during the exercise.
According to him, three make-shift tents of the criminals have also been destroyed.
Gemu said the command would continue to fight illegal oil bunkering until the illicit business was completely eradicated in the area.
He warned those engaging in illegal oil bunkering to desist from it or face the wrath of the law.
”Oil bunkering is gradually reducing in the area and I assure you that we will not relent on
our oars until it is completely eradicated.
”I have been given the mandate to apprehend bunkerers and destroy illegal crude oil; we will not relent.
”They have devised a means of going far into the creeks, but we too have intensifyied our surveillance to contain their illegal activities, ” Gemu said.
”They understand the creeks more than we do, they go to areas we do not know but we will always get them.”
Gemu appealed to the Chief of Naval Staff to dialogue with the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to assist the command with smaller boats to navigate narrow creeks.
The naval boss said his command had on Sept. 18 impounded MV Maga vessel in Dodo River, Delta, with about 540 metric tonnes of illegally refined crude with 11 crews, who were Nigerians.
He said the vessel was still being held at Naval Command in Sapele, adding that the vessel and the suspects would soon be handed over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.