The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday said the vessel caught with stolen crude was destroyed instantly as required by standard procedure.

Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, at a briefing in Abuja, said the procedure stipulates instant destruction of any vehicle, vessel or equipment linked with crude oil theft.

The vessel MT TURA II was intercepted on July 7 while conveying 150,000 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil from Nigeria to Cameroon at a location offshore of Ondo State, with 11 Nigerians and one Ghanaian onboard.

The vessel was set ablaze on July 11 at a creek near Bennett Island in Warri South-West Local Government of Delta State.  

Buba said: “The vessel, MT TURA II…has a tank capacity of 800,000 litres.

“It was previously named ALI RITA BEY and an inspection revealed that only two compartments were partially filled with about 150 metric tonnes which is approximately 178,000 litres.

“This quantity is less than a quarter of the vessel. The vessel, upon arrest, was moved to Oporoza in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

“The voyage of the vessel revealed that it originated from Lagos and was heading to the Republic of Cameroon as its destination.

“The captain admitted to having been engaged in the same illegal activities for over four years.

“On July 11, the vessel was destroyed in accordance with the extant operating procedure that stipulates instant destruction of any vehicle, vessel or equipment linked with crude oil theft.”

The Defence spokesperson also said that troops of Operation Delta Safe discovered and destroyed 23 illegal refining sites, 15 wooden boats, 34 storage tanks, and 96 ovens in the past two weeks.

They also recovered 367,200 litres of crude oil and 150 litres of Automotive Gas Oil.

Buba said: “On July 10, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE with Pilgrims Security Service personnel responded to criminal activities around Chinese Camp in Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River State.

“Troops pursued the criminals and arrested five suspects as well as recovered four motorcycles, stolen cables and casted steel conveyor bearing balls.”

In the Southeast, he said troops of Operation UDO KA on July 10 killed one Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN) fighter during a gunfight at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and arrested 12 suspects.

He said: “On July 11, troops of OPERATION UDO KA raided a suspected IPOB/ESN criminals’ hideout at Udoma Community in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State.

“Following the raid, troops arrested two suspected IPOB/ESNcriminals.

“On July 13, troops raided a suspected criminals’ hideout within Umoh Orok Street in Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River State and arrested 10 suspected criminals.

“On July 14, troops with DSS operators raided suspected high profile ESN criminals’ hideout/shrine at Nsukka in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State.

“Suspects on sighting troops fled while troops searched the hideout and recovered three pump action rifles, one dane gun and 75 live cartridges.

“On July 14, following a tip-off, troops raided IPOB/ESN hideout at Ikwo in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State but the criminals fled on sighting troops. 

“Troops searched the general area and recovered one AK47 rifle.”

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