From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The Forward Operating Base (FOB) of the Nigerian Navy in Igbokoda, Ondo State, says it has intercepted six boats loaded with over 100,000 litres of diesel along the Ondo-Lagos coastal axis.
The patrol team of the Naval base also reportedly arrested 24 suspects in connection with the intercepted products.
Parading the suspects and the intercepted boats before reporters, Base Commanding Officer Shaibu Mohammed Ahmed said six boats carrying illegally refined crude oil owned by bunkerers were apprehended.
He said one of the boats contained 150 drums of 250 litres of refined Automotive Gas Oil (Diesel).
According to him, another wooden boat containing 16 tanks of 4,500 litres of diesel was also intercepted, adding that other boats seized by his men contain empty drums.
‘In order to effectively curb illegal oil bunkering, sea piracy, kidnapping and other criminal activities in Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas of Ondo State, the Forward Operating Base of the Nigerian Navy in Igbokoda instituted continuous surveillance on the creeks and coastal areas,’ he said.
‘This effort yielded a positive result, with the latest operation carried out along the Ondo-Lagos coastal axis.
‘Some of the suspects said their boats were hired by the bunkerers, while some admitted their involvement in the illegal business,’ he added.
The Commanding Officer sought meaningful information that could lead to curbing all forms of economic sabotage in the area.
He added that the operation base will continue to work in line with its mandate of ensuring a secured maritime environment.