Navy Captain Musa Gemu, Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta State, on Thursday told Daily Independent newspaper that in the sense that lack of operational gear remains an impediment to the agency, crude oil theft will continue for the now.
Navy patrols boat
Speaking to newsmen at his office in Warri , he said the above reason has been hindering the fight against oil theft and other vices on the waterways of the Niger Delta region.
The commander further revealed that information gathering among the local community was also one of the problem hindering the effective security of the waterways as resident refuses to give out useful information.
He lamented that the Navy was under-funded, as some of the operational ships and boats have become obsolete and cannot be used to access the creeks of the region.
Gemu disclosed that government has not provided the Navy the needed logistics to enable it police the waters and do battle with those involved in illegalities in the region to a standstill. He listed the logistics to include a functional ocean-going boats, ships and gunboats, noting that the ones they have were old.
“Most of our boats and ships are as old as 50 years” Gemu said.
The commander, who revealed that most of the creeks were crude oil theft takes place are usually inaccessible said, Navy’s helicopter had often sighted such illegal bunkering but couldn’t clampdown on the perpetrators because of lack of flat boats to access the creeks.
Gemu recalled an operation were they (Navy) stormed a massive illegal oil refining camp, he said the operation took them about a month to find an access point to the place following the thick mangroves which completely enclosed the place.
Describing what happened after they had finally gained access to the place, he said: “what we saw and met on ground was unbelievable with large quantities of refined crude stored in the ground”.
Gemu lauded his men’s job so far, saying they had destroyed about 500 illegal refining plants since he took the mantle of leadership at NNS Delta State.
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