Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, has said between January and December 2023 the Nigerian Navy arrested 23 vessels, 232 suspected oil thieves and destroyed 703 illegal refining sites.
He said the Navy also arrested five barges, 690 cotonou boats laden with stolen crude, 116 speed boats and 82 vehicles/trucks.
The CNS disclosed this in his opening remarks during a meeting with principal staff officers, flag officers commanding and base commanders in Abuja.
According to him, the Nigerian Navy seized 803, 353.20 barrels of crude worth over N1.5bn from economic saboteurs.
He declared the Nigerian Navy under his watch has zero tolerance for oil thieves and vowed to deal with any officer or rating found colluding with criminal elements.
He listed some of the vessels arrested to include MT Marine Express, MT Cecilia, MT Ufuoma, MT Vigor I, MV Barge Ayeba Eneni, FT Lamu I and MT Vinnalaris I Lagos, among others.
“Arising from these, 46, 369,219 Litres of AGO, 2,472,200 litres of DPK and 438, 886 litres of PMS were recovered. Similarly, the NN recovered 803, 353.20 barrels of crude oil.
“At current market values, the seizures translate to about N105bn,” he said.
He said the arrests and seizures were not just isolated successes but achievements recorded as a result of deliberate strategic policy formulation, operational implementation and tactical execution.
He, however, cautioned personnel not to be lulled into complacency.
“The criminals we combat are adaptable and ruthless. They will change their tactics, seek new routes and employ new technologies. It is our duty to stay ahead of the curve, to anticipate their moves, and to counter them with greater resolve,” he said.
Ogalla commended President Bola Tinubu for providing the resources and moral support needed by the Nigerian Navy to prevail.
“With the support of Mr President, we are working tirelessly to equip you with the tools to dominate the maritime domain – faster boats, advanced surveillance technology and robust intelligence networks. But resources alone are not the answer: the NN needs your unwavering commitment, strategic brilliance and steadfast courage. You must also be accountable for the resources entrusted to you. Your ability to efficiently utilize the resources at your disposal to achieve best results will single you out as a commander worthy of trust and emulation. Each of you holds within you the power to turn the tide. Let history remember that this era as the time when the NN, under your command, turned the tide against crude oil theft and other forms of maritime crimes, thereby securing a brighter future for our nation,” he said.
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