PINL Intel Leads Nigerian Navy to Uncover 14 Illegal Bunkering Sites in Rivers State


The Nigerian Navy component of Operation Delta Safe OPDS, on Friday uncovered 14 boilers scattered across a 500-meter radius at a location known as Ataba Creek, Andoni Local Government Area, very close to Bonny, in between Rivers and Akwa-Ibom states, Godwin Amaechi reports from Port Harcourt.

The illegal bunkering facilities comprised of large steel tanks, some serving as boilers while others served as reservoirs for stolen crude and refined products; plastic drums used for siphoning refined products out of the creeks, and two small wooden boats and one large wooden canoe called Cotonou boat serving as tanker for siphoning products from the location.

These facilities were all abandoned at the different sites, including the river, when the quick response force comprising the components from JTF, stormed the island following a tip off from officials of Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd PINL, the Surveillance contractor covering the oil pipeline on that route.

Speaking to journalists after an inspection of the arrested facilities, the Operation Delta Safe OPDS, Commander, Real Admiral, John Okeke who led officers of the other component of OPDS and stakeholders, announced that the feat was made possible “leveraging the information from our intelligence cell, which of course comprises, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, other components like the police, DIA, Civil Defence, and of course, our big collaborator in the name of Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd, PINL”.

“What we discovered was shocking, a whopping number of 14 cooking sites. On arrival of our quick response force we met one still very hot, which suggests that they just pulled out on their arrival.

“The taskforce quick response team has been on ground since 3 days keeping vigil here. And I want to commend them and the quick response team comprises the components from JTF, so it’s not a one man show”.

He explained that even though no arrest was made during the operation but it was “able to remove a major illegal refining site, which of course has reduced the quantity (crude oil) that would have been pilfered from our pipeline and what it portends for the taskforce is that we are sustaining what my predecessor did and I want to thank God Almighty for at least not up to 24-hours and we are able to achieve this feat”.

Rear Admiral Okeke said the significance of the operation was that it meant that the country could sustain its oil production output.

He stated that from tell tale signs around the site it appeared that the operations had been on for quite sometime stressing that even the weekly overflight surveillance by Shell could not detect the sites because of the remoteness of the area and the thick vegetation.

He added; “If not for the intelligence provided through the stakeholders and the naval intelligence and force cell we wouldn’t have discovered this place because the vegetation is thick. It’s an island beside Bonny island. When you transit through the main channel you will not notice that there is something here”.

He commended Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd for providing the intelligence that led to discovery of the illegal bunkering sites saying; “The Pinl are our active partners like other surveillance companies. They provided information as well, of course in collaboration with our people but they gave us leads. So they are a very good partner with the theater”.

He warned illegal bunkerers that the operation area would not be safe haven for any criminality; whether crude oil thieves, pirates or any form of criminality.

Real Admiral Okeke said: “I want to say again, the criminals that are here, I think it’s better they, those hibernating here can relocate for now or I will advise that they can decide to do legit. When you do legitimate business you don’t have any business coming to the bush. And the Nigerian Navy will continue to support your business. But in so far that you continue to hide inside the bush, tearing our pipelines we will not allow you to see peace”.