Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT have uncovered 3,181 25 litre kegs laden with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) suspected to have been vandalised from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) pipelines at Akaraba Island.
The kegs which were discovered during a raid of the island by naval operatives on July 4, were said to have been concealed in makeshift structures built about 200 metres away from Inegbe Resort.
Leading reporters to the island where the kegs were handed over to the NNPC, Commander NNS BEECROFT Commodore Ibrahim Shettima said the products were valued at about N11.5 million.
Shettima said it was discovered that the products were sourced from several vandalised points on the NNPC pipeline on the Atlas Cove Island. The discovery of such large quantity of PMS is as a result of the navy’s aggressive patrols which has denied them the freedom of action.
He stated that the Nigerian Navy under the leadership of the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas is determined to rid the Akaraba Island waterways of all forms of criminality. The NNS BEECROFT is committed to assisting NNPC and other agencies of government in dealing with the issue of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft.
The commander warned the pipeline vandals/thieves and other criminal elements, particularly in Akaraba Island maritime environment to desist from nefarious activities and pursue lawful means of livelihood. Otherwise, they will surely be brought to justice.
On the next line of action, Commodore Shettima said the navy would await the evacuation of the products by NNPC within a time frame before destroying all illegal structures on the island.
Newsmen observed that the makeshift structures were located at places where boats or canoes can move alongside the Lagos anchorage and load them with ease for onward transportation. It was also observed that the locations of the structures were same as those destroyed in 2015 and 2016 by the Nigerian Navy during operations to dislodge pipeline vandals and militants in the area.
At the handing over event was Commandant NSCDC Commandant Tajudeen Balogun, representatives of NNPC pipeline maintenance contractor, OilServe Limited and private security guards working for the contractor Pentagon.
It was reported that there was however mild drama in the island as officials of the NNPC who were to receive the recovered kegs initially refused to turn up. But with the navy’s insistence to handover the products in line with the Harmonised Standrad Operating Procedure (HSOP), the Manager Atlas Cove Terminal of the NNPC Rafiu Malik eventually came out and signed for them.