The Nigerian Navy said it had uncovered a hideout of crude oil thieves in Oteghale community, Warri-South Local Government Area of Delta State, and arrested 16 suspects, Daily Post Nigeria reported.

In the site, the authorities have found drums of over 8,000 tones acquired by illegal traders, who had connected their pipes to the export line or placed the export pipelines as far as 2km off shore loading crude directly from there.

According to a chief naval officer, the operatives have discovered a hop tap on the Trans Forcados pipeline fixed with six inches valve allowing illegal oil dealers to access Nigerian crude unhindered, Leadership Nigeria reported.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has been tackling illegal oil market – valued at more than $20m a day for many years without a major success. Previously in mid December 2015, it was reported that in line with country’s zero tolerance policy for maritime illegalities, the Nigerian Navy had arrested over 20 vessels and their crews, and destroyed some 149 illegal refineries.