The Nigerian Navy said it has recovered a metal barge laden with 900,000 litres of stolen crude oil and drifting along Bolo Creek in the Niger Delta area.
The metal badge, according to the force is named MV JOSH 1 and was recovered alongside a wooden boat also laden with about 2,500 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).
A statement from Navy spokesman, Commodore Suleiman Dahun said there were no suspects onboard the vessels at the time of the recovery, adding that the recovery was made in accordance with Part 6 Paragraph 17 of the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures on Arrest, Detention and Prosecution (HSOP-AD&P) of Vessels and Persons.
He warned owners of the barge and wooden boat that under law, failure to reclaim seized and detained vessels by its owner for a period of 12 months, the Agency in Custody of the seized items, shall reserve the power to obtain an order of forfeiture and disposal from a court of competent jurisdiction.
He said: “Accordingly, the general public is hereby notified that the Nigerian Navy will keep the Barge and wooden boat in its custody for a period of 6 months effective from the day of recovery. At the expiration of the 6 months period, it will hand over the vessels to EFCC to obtain forfeiture order in accordance with the law in the absence of any claim of its ownership.”
Similarly, operatives of the force have arrested no fewer than 19 persons alleged to have impersonated naval personnel Calabar, Yenegoa and Port Harcourt.
The Navy said the men were arrested in the First Quarter of 2019, adding that a breakdown of those arrested shows that 13 were arrested in Calabar/Ikang area, five in Yenogoa/Port Harcourt area and 1 in Lagos area.
The Navy spokesman said: “Typically, these criminals were arrested either in possession of fake Navy ID Card or dressed in Navy uniforms (Camouflage or Blue Rig).
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigerian Navy wishes to inform the general public that wearing and illegal possession of military accoutrements is unlawful and punishable under Section 109, 110 and 251 of Nigerian Criminal Code.”
It warned members of the public not to patronize persons claiming to be naval personnel pointing out that these persons should be reported to the nearest Naval, Army, Air Force or Police.