The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) says it has in collaboration with National Security and the Ghana Armed Forces arrested 17 persons engaged in smuggling and syphoning of oil in two separate operations.
Thirteen persons suspected to be part of a cartel dealing in smuggling of petroleum products were picked up in the first operation. The second operation resulted in the arrest of four people who are in the custody of the Eastern Naval Command for engaging in illegal syphoning of fuel from two “canoe tankers” to fuel tanker vehicle.
The four suspects – Ali Christopher, Nii Armah Odatey, Richard Adjetey and Yetawell Immabasalam were arrested during their operation at the Tema Fishing Harbour around 12 midnight.
A statement issued by the NPA said the suspects who were arrested following a tip-off, were transferring fuel from a ship to drums and gallons around the shores of Aflao in the Volta Region.
“Seven drums, 76 empty drums, 32 filled yellow gallons (25 litres) of diesel and 20 empty containers were retrieved from them during the operation that lasted for about five hours.”
The NPA said investigations revealed that the suspects used only text messages to communicate with the captain of the ship and are only able to identify the particular ship they are to approach to conduct their illegalities when lights in all other docked ships are off.
The NPA said the tanker vehicle with registration number GN 2931-12 was confiscated together with 16,000 litres of fuel, a pumping machine and fuel hose.
“Unfortunately, the tanker boats and its operators slipped away. A seaward search was mounted for the boats but proved futile”, the NPA said, adding that it is determined to sanitize the industry and therefore urged the public to continue with their support in the fight against fuel smuggling.