Sequel to the flag off of Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, NNS DELTA commenced anti-crude oil theft and anti-illegal bunkering patrols within its area of operations.
The patrol was aimed at curbing operations of illegal refineries, sea robbery, piracy and other form of criminalities within the Base area of operations.
NNS Delta has so far conducted several anti-crude oil theft operations and Swamp Buggy Ops at identified illegal refining sites around Bennett Island, Opumami, Jones Creek, Egwa, Ukpogbene, Yokri and Opuama respectively.
Also, the patrol team destroyed several wooden boats and speedboats conveying stolen crude oil or illegally refined AGO.
NNS DELTA with Operation Dakatar Da Barawo which means “Stop The Thief” has in six months recovered the following; 132 Illegal refining sites, 75 Wooden boat, 1,008 Ovens, 631,992 Metal storage tanks, 15 Tarpaulin storage facilities, 681 Dugout pits, 265 Drums, 100 jerry cans and 4,225 polythene bag cumulatively laden with about 19,311,000L of suspected stolen crude oil, 8,844,890 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO.
Others are; 346,075 litres of suspected illegally refined DPK, 600,000 litres of black oil were destroyed, 10 trucks were demobilized, 78 pumping machines and 12 outboard engines were recovered.
Overflight operation is periodically conducted with Nigerian Navy and shell helicopters to assess the extent of own operations conducted as well as to discover additional illegal oil refining and bunkering sites.
The overflight covered Jones Creek, Yeye Creek, Batan, Opumami, Burutu, Koko, Sapele, Oghara, Oporoza, Opuama and Bennett Island general area.
NNS Delta Commander, Commodore Abdulhamid Baba-Inna said although there was no recorded incident of piracy or sea robbery within NNS Delta area of operations but the base would continue to maintain its aggressive posture.
He said the operations enabled the deactivation of major and other illegal refining sites within its area of operations.
“Also, the overflight that was conducted revealed the destruction achieved by NNS DELTA against crude oil theft and illegal bunkering activities.” he said.
NNS Delta Commander, Commodore Abdulhamid Baba-Inna while speaking on challenges in identifying the illegal refining sites said technology is often required and locals are also approached to gather intelligence.
In his words, Commodore Abdulhamid Baba-Inna said “when we come in, we usually approach the community and talk to them but of course, every community has the good and bad people.
“Perhaps the bad ones have overwhelmed the good ones. Usually there is information sharing as we get information about activities of the crude oil thieves so we come in and deactivate the sites.
“Like I said earlier, in carrying out this deactivation, a lot of logistics is involved. Looking at where we came from, boat ride took us 1 hour plus and bringing in the Swamp Buggies to this place will take you six to eight hours or more.
“It is similar to every site where you have the illegal refining sites and as you can see, from the water front, you can’t notice if anything is happening because the bushes has covered everywhere.
“A lot of techniques is also deployed to detect the sites because you may walk close to an hour before detecting any illegal refining site so we use technology like the fly drones.” He said.
Commodore Abdulhamid Baba-Inna however noted that the Navy can only make arrest and hand over suspects to the prosecuting authorities while also ensuring surveillance to prevent further vandalism.
He urged other stakeholders to responsibly play their roles in tackling the menace of crude oil theft by also discouraging buyers so as to discourage vandals from getting involved in crude oil theft.