THE Nigerian Navy in the Delta state has arrested a self propelled barge loaded with estimated 4000metric tonnes, equivalent of 400 truck load of suspected crude oil in what the Central Naval Command, CNC, described as “a big break in the fight against oil theft” in the Niger Delta.
Flag Officer Commanding, FOC, CNC, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman who briefed the press Friday at the Nigeria Navy Ship, NNS Delta in Warri said the boat, MT Camille, was caught November 15 along with 11 man crew in Forcados waters where Shell operates an oil terminal.
Apochi said, “The crew captain is making serious confessional statement, but this is such a big break that we can’t let the details out now so as not to compromise the investigation. We have informed the oil majors operating in the area too.
“No ordinary person can put a 400 trucks capacity crude oil stealing boats on the river. This is a big break. We will get to the bottom of this and get the kingpins, working with other relevant stakeholders.”
The crew members were paraded by the Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Raimi Mohammed who said they would be handed to relevant agency for further investigation and prosecution.
The crew captain whose name was withheld claimed they were sailing on a voyage from Thelma, Ghanna to Cameroon, adding that the boat was at the Forcados Rivers to get fuel and food when it was allegedly hijacked by gunmen who deployed them for the oil theft.