Consequently, the suspects' operational wooden boat, with over 300 drums, pumping machines, and other equipment were recovered.
Commander, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Kolawole Oguntuga, who made the disclosure yesterday at the Base Command, said the arrest was made in the early hours of Wednesday while they were on their way to siphon the product.
Attributing the arrest to the swift and proactive response to stall activities of economic saboteurs, he explained, "the NNS BEECROFT patrol team vectored by the state-of-the-art Maritime Domain Awareness Facility, the Falcone Eye Alignment, intercepted a large wooden boat at about 2.30 am on October 25, 2023, within Lagos anchorage."
“This wooden boat laden with eight crew, over 300 drums, pumping machines and other equipment was prevented from getting to its destination to perpetrate illegal bunkering, which could have robbed the nation of huge quantity of products for consumption by Nigerians.
“The timely interception by the patrol team is also commendable, as it prevented disaster associated with illegal handling of these inflatable petroleum products by unscrupulous elements.
“The proactive response initiated by the patrol team further reveals the Nigerian Navy’s unwavering commitment under the leadership of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, towards safeguarding vital resources as well as effective safety of live and property particularly within the maritime domain.”
While handing over the suspects, whose identities he gave as Selafei Tito, Seba Hunton, Etieni Abibu, Ahousansou Lawlent, Oke Job, Abel Yede, Matiye Husa, and Husa Hungha, to the Nigeria Security and Civil Corps (NSCDC), Commodore Oguntuga remarked, "The Corps will further investigate and prosecute them, which is necessary to sustain economic prosperity of the nation. This would further send a strong message that the Nigerian Navy remains resolute at effective ocean governance by ensuring the full weight of the law is meted on perpetrators of maritime crimes."