Yenagoa – The Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, has intercepted another vessel loaded with 600,000 litres of allegedly stolen crude oil in the creek of Akassa, in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Also, 18 suspects on board the oil vessel, marked MV Tamuno Ibi, were arrested in a special operation led by Captain Rasheed Kolawole.
This came as another eight suspects were nabbed with two barges, one of which was loaded with crude oil at Elepa creek, also in Brass council.
Addressing newsmen on board the impounded oil vessel, before it was set ablaze, Media Coordinator of JTF, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said: “At about 1700hrs, troops from 5 Battalion intercepted a vessel christened MV Tamuno Ibi, at Akassa, with about 600,000 litres of product. Although it had tendered a permit, we were unable to ascertain the authentic source of same.
“Going by the content of the permit, it was supposed to load about 100,000 litres at barge ROH II in Brass, which is the legitimate loading point for all vessels. However, because these people are engaged in illegal oil bunkering, they veered into the creeks in Akassa, where they loaded about 600,000 litres of illegally refined diesel.”
Reiterating the resolve of the task force to clamp down on the illicit operations of oil thieves in the Niger Delta, Nwachukwu said the special security force would step up its operations to halt activities inimical to the economy of the country.
The suspects, it was gathered, were later transferred to the JTF headquarters in Yenagoa for further investigation.