A barge carrying 2000 tons of allegedly stolen crude oil has sunk off the coast of Nigeria’s Niger Delta, causing some environmental damage, a military spokesman says.
The boat sank near the Forcados oil terminal, operated by Royal Dutch Shell’s joint venture with state-run oil major NNPC, in Delta state late on Sunday Reuters reported Wednesday.
“Our men have impounded a vessel used by bunkerers to siphon crude from oil installations in the Niger Delta,” said Colonel Rabe Abubakar, spokesman for the military task force in the Niger Delta.
“The vessel discharged its crude contents into the river and the spillage is causing damage to the environment. The spill has not been contained,” he added.
The military said it was investigating the matter, but no one has been arrested yet. Nigeria is the world’s eighth biggest exporter of crude oil but thieves take a sizeable proportion of its output by drilling into pipelines or hijacking barges loaded with oil, a type of theft known locally as “bunkering.”
Some estimates say 100 000 barrels of crude are stolen from the Niger Delta each day, about five percent of the country’s production and equivalent to around $6 million daily or $2.2 billion a year at current prices.