Navy foils another ship hijack, destroys illegal refineries in Delta
The Nigerian Navy has foiled an attempt by sea pirates to hijack an oil vessel, MT Nordic Freedom, just as intensified operation to rid the country of economic saboteurs has equally led to the destruction of illegal refineries, large quantities of stolen crude and refined diesel in some parts of Delta State.
A statement yesterday by the Director, Naval Information (DINFO), Commodore Christian Odogwu Ezekobe, said the vessel was rescued following a distress call to its patrol ship, NNS Okpabana, while on routine patrol of the general area from the Bahamas-flagged vessel.
“On getting the alert, NNS OKPABANA ensured MT NORDIC FREEDOM was protected from the sea pirates who attempted to hijack the vessel,” it said.
The naval spokesman attributed the feat to improved intelligence gathering and surveillance as well as valuable information from public-spirited individuals within the communities, which had also led to the discovery and destruction of illegal refineries in some communities in the Delta State, though no arrests were made as the operators evaded arrest.
Specifically, the patrol team carried out raids at Ugborodo, Itsekiri area in Warri South West Local Council of the state where the destruction of the facilities took place.
Also, a raid conducted in the general areas of Ogbonga, Egbelema and adjoining creeks was successful as the team uncovered two co-located active illegal refineries in Ogbonga creek, where more than 40,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) otherwise called diesel were stored and destroyed boats and other machineries found at the site.
“Further search led to the discovery and destruction of three suspected crude oil storage tanks and four suspected AGO storage tanks. In the Egbelema axis, an active illegal refinery was discovered with two storage tanks. The refinery site and other facilities used for the illicit business were destroyed as the operators of the facilities fled the site in an apparent effort to evade arrest and prosecution,” Ezekobe added.
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