The problem of oil theft has not gone away.

More often, the stories of security operatives bursting the oil thieves grace the headline.

The latest was the recovery of 200,000 litres of adulterated diesel said to be worth about 50 million Naira by the operatives of the Nigerian Navy in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Friday.

It was learnt that the fuel was intercepted from eight suspected oil thieves arrested along Taraba Jetty waterways. They were accused of sourcing the petroleum product from unapproved refining sites.

The Base Operation Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, Commodore Ikenna Okoloagu, paraded the suspects and the vessel recovered from them before reporters on Friday.

Also Read: About 9,000 Barrels Of Crude Per Day Stolen From Us In 2017 - Shell

According to Okoloagu, “the arrest followed routine patrols of our area of operation with the focus to stem crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and other illegal activities within the maritime environment.

“In the course of such patrols, one of our patrol teams accosted MT Watergate 1 at Taraba Jetty on April 11 on suspicion of engaging in illicit activities".

The News Agency of Nigeria quoted Okoloagu as saying that the naval operatives, after boarding the vessel, found out that it was laden with 200,000 litres of petroleum products suspected to be illegally refined diesel.

According to him, the naval team thereafter demanded from the suspects the vessel’s permit to move the petroleum product and where it was sourced.

“But the captain of the vessel (MT Wateragate 1) refused to provide any information in this regard. So, the source of the product remained questionable.

“To this end, the eight crewmen were arrested, and the vessel seized as part of preliminary investigation to unravel the circumstances of the petroleum product,” he said.

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