Oil Marketers Convert Fishing Trawlers To Tankers For Oil Theft – Nigerian Navy
YENAGOA – The Nigerian Navy has exposed how unscrupulous Nigerian oil marketers and their foreign collaborators are now converting fishing trawlers into oil tankers for illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
The converted ships, according to the Navy, now venture into the creeks and rivers disguised as fishing trawlers to lift stolen crude oil. But a naval patrol team on routine patrol that intercepted such trawlers find stolen crude instead of fish in all the vessels captured.
Parading the crew of one of such vessels in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the navy raised the alarm that the activity was on the rise in the region.
The authorities of the Nigerian Navy, through the Command Operations Officer, Central Naval Command, Commodore Emmanuel Enemor, disclosed that the confession obtained from the captain of one of the seized vessels showed that fishing trawlers were now being converted to motor tanker for the purpose of illegal bunkering.
According to him, the captain of the seized vessel, MV DALAL, caught last week, confessed to the illegal lifting of 120,000 litres of diesel from illegal refineries at the Akassa creeks in the state. He lamented that the oil thieves had devised new ways of carrying the illegal act without the knowledge of the security operatives by converting fishing trawlers to oil tankers.
Enemor said the naval operatives intercepted the vessel while on patrol off the coast of Brass following suspicions that the ship was loaded with illegal diesel. It was also learnt that the vessel was operated under a registered name and licence of Solabaster Oil and Gas Limited located at 5, Bombay Crescent Apapa, Lagos.
At the time of the arrest, the vessel did not have Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), bunkering permit, ship’s log, Naval headquarters approval and the certificate of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield.