Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder have arrested a Marine Vessel, MV Cecilia, laden with about 350,000 litres of suspected Stolen diesel in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Commander, Operation Delta Safe, (OPDS), Real Admiral Olusegun Ferrera, made this known while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.
Ferrera, who was represented by the maritime component commander of the joint taskforce for south-south of the Operation Delta Safe, Navy Commodore Adedokun Siyanbade, said the vessel which has not been put in use for two years was converted to a storage tank for illegal refined products.
He said as part of the efforts at optimizing and ensuring that the mandate of the OPDS are actualised, the Commander Joint Taskforce south south of OPDS directed the NNS Pathfinder to conduct a convert operation in the area.
He said they got intelligence that illegality ws going on within the area, adding that the operation which was conducted on 15th of August , 2023, led to the arrest of MV Cecilia.
He said, ” I’m here on behalf of the Commander Joint Taskforce Operation Delta Safe , Real Admiral Olusegun Ferrera. We are here this morning to show you arrest of a vessel that was involved illegalities in this general area.
“As part of the efforts at optimizing and ensuring that the mandate of the OPDS are actualised the Commander Joint Taskforce South south of OPDS directed the NNS Pathfinder base on credible intelligence to conduct a convert operation in this area and the intelligence was based on the fact of illegality going on within this area”
“The operation was conducted yesterday, 15th of August , 2023 and the operation lead to the arrest of MV Cecilia with a vessel that ought to be a service vessel but has been converted to storage tank of illegally refined products suspected to be AGO. The vessel has the capacity all together including the fuel and water capacity of about 350,000 litres.
“The water tanks has been converted as a storage tank for this illegal products and the vessel has not been to sea for the past two years. It was expected to be under maintenance but it’s being used for a different purpose where by people from illegal refinery sites bring their products to this place to discharge whereby other people also come here to purchase the product”
“So, the vessel has been arrested and necessary procedures will be taken in line with extant regulation biding operation Delta Safe operation and I am also to inform you that in Rivers State on Monday two tankers were also arrested the tankers were laden with 30,000 liters of products suspected to be crude oil were also arrested by Joint sector 3 of Operation Delta Safe including land component and water component.
“They were caught siphoning crude oil from a dug out pit in Obio general area of Rivers State. So, for this vessel and those tankers as well necessary actions will be taken in line with extant regulation.”
He said the suspects as well as the vessel and products will be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) foe prosecution.