Nigeria: August 26, 2003


After years of looking the other way, the navy is cracking down on ships that smuggle stolen oil out of the country. Gangs steal the oil from storage areas and pipeline and move it by truck or barrel to ships or motorized barges that take the oil to nearby countries and sell it. An estimated 6-7 million gallons of crude oil a day are thought to be stolen in this way. The smugglers can get 10-30 cents a gallon for the crude, and even more for refined oil (gasoline or kerosene), which sells for about a dollar a gallon. This makes such theft attractive for many Nigerians (who are lucky to live on a few dollars a day.) In the past three weeks, four ships and one motorized barge have been seized, and many more vessels checked. 


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