Oily trouble: Thieves swipe 330,000 litres from Thai police dock

Photo of Petch Petpailin
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Photo via Facebook/ บิ๊กเกรียน365

Illegal oil smugglers stole three tankers carrying about 330,000 litres of diesel from the Thai Marine Police (TMP) dock in the Sattahip district of Chon Buri on Tuesday night.

TMP officers filed a complaint with Sattahip Police Station in the early hours of June 12 after three out of five oil tankers disappeared from their parking spots. The relevant authorities attempted to track down the tankers via water and air but were unable to identify their locations.

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These five oil vessels were seized from an oil smuggling gang on March 19. The ships were parked at the dock, awaiting auction by the Customs Department for the approximately 330,000 litres of diesel in three of the five tankers. Officers believed that each of the oil tankers had a separate owner.

While awaiting the auction, TMP officers allowed the owners and their crew to return to each vessel to carry out maintenance, preventing them from sinking. Police officers were assigned to oversee each vessel and ensure their control.

According to the TMP, officers were alerted about the strong waves since June 9. The rough waves posed a risk of friction between the tankers and the pier, potentially leading to a spark due to the oil inside the vessels, escalating into a fire or explosion.

Leading oil smuggler suspected

For safety reasons, an undisclosed police inspector decided to relocate each tanker to anchor in the middle of the sea, approximately 100 meters away from the pier, on June 11. Police officers observed each vessel’s lights being turned on at 8pm and they were switched off around 10pm that night.

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However, when the police checked the tankers again in the morning, three of them were missing. The estimated damage amounted to about 10 million baht.

TMP Commander Prutthipong Nuchanart reported that the theft was suspected to have been carried out by a prominent oil smuggler known as Jo Illegal Oil or Jo Pattani. Prutthipong suspected that the tankers may be in the waters of Thailand’s neighbouring country.

The Deputy Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, Jaroonkiat Parnkaew, admitted during an interview with Channel 3 that he was very angry because this theft should not have occurred under the authorities’ noses.

Jaroonkiat further explained that arresting illegal oil smugglers proved challenging, and it took a day to transport the oil tankers from the scene of the arrest to the TMP dock. However, the police lost track of them. Jaroonkiat stated that the inspector, along with other officers on patrol duty, must take responsibility for this theft.

Crime NewsThailand News

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