Eight large barges loaded with illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (AGO), popularly called diesel, have been intercepted and impounded by Joint Task Force (JTF) soldiers under Operation Pulo Shield (OPS) in Rivers State.
The JTF also arrested two suspected oil thieves and confiscated 23 empty barges reportedly used for illegal oil transport.
The commander OPS, Maj. Gen. Alani Okunlola, showed journalists the contraband and other items located near Onne Port in Rivers State this weekend.
He said the troops from OPS Sector 2 intercepted the barges on September 23 during an anti-oil bunkering operation at Tamunotonye Ama village in Ogu Bolo Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State.
He said the illegally refined AGO was loaded in eight large metal barges, adding that two of the impounded barges had a loading capacity of seven tanker trucks.
Mr. Okunlola said other items found during the operation were large quantities of hoses, 18 pumping machines, 22 illegal product dumps, 44 plastic tanks, three speedboats, two outboard engines, and 19 storage tanks loaded with stolen crude oil.
"The sites were destroyed in-situ while the barges were towed to the Ogoloma jetty. The suspects are in the custody of OPS. The operation is a continuous one aimed at the eradication of oil theft and illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta and other oil-producing areas.
"I want to reassure members of the public of the command's renewed vigor and determination in the war against crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and other criminal activities in oil-producing areas of Nigeria", he said.