Nigerian Security Contractor Intercepts Vessel Transporting Illegal Crude Oil Cargo.
Private Security Contractor Tantita Security Services intercepts vessel MT Tura II carrying illegal crude oil cargo, owned by Holab Maritime Services Limited. NNPC vows to destroy vessels involved in crude oil theft as a strong deterrent. Investigations ongoing to identify perpetrators.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) announced on Monday that a suspicious vessel carrying a cargo of crude oil has been intercepted by private security contractor Messrs. Tantita Security Services. The vessel, identified as MT Tura II (IMO number: 6620462), owned by Nigerian registered company Holab Maritime Services Limited, was en route to Cameroon with the illicit cargo.
According to a statement released by NNPC spokesman Garba Muhammad, credible intelligence led to the interception of the vessel at an offshore location with coordinates latitude 5.8197194477543235° and longitude 4.789002723991871°. The vessel’s captain and crew members were apprehended during the operation.
Preliminary investigations conducted by NNPC revealed that the crude oil cargo was illegally sourced from an offshore well jacket in Ondo State, Nigeria. At the time of the arrest, neither the vessel nor the cargo had valid documentation. Disturbingly, further scrutiny at the NNPC Limited command and control center unveiled that the vessel had been operating covertly for the past 12 years, with its last reported location being Tin Can Port in July 2011.
The details of the arrest and investigation were promptly shared with the relevant government authorities. Subsequently, it was decided that the vessel would be destroyed as a stern warning and deterrent to all those involved in such illicit activities. NNPC emphasized the paramount importance of destroying vessels engaged in the transportation of stolen crude oil as a strong measure against this illegal trade.
NNPC stated, “The illegal trade of stolen crude oil not only inflicts significant economic losses on Nigeria and legitimate stakeholders in the oil industry but also perpetuates a cycle of corruption, environmental devastation, and social instability. NNPC Ltd. assures Nigerians that we will sustain the momentum in the war against crude oil theft until it is brought to a halt.”
It has been revealed that the vessel had previously been apprehended, with its contents handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) while the vessel was entrusted to security agencies. However, the vessel allegedly escaped under mysterious circumstances.
During an inspection of the vessel at Oporoza in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, the Executive Director of Technical and Operations at Tantita Security Services, briefed journalists. He confirmed that the vessel, along with its 13 crew members, was arrested during a sting operation in Ondo State. Enisuoh commended the security agencies for their collaboration in the mission to eradicate criminal activities in the maritime domain. Notably, the arrested vessel was originally named Ali-Riza-Bey but had its name changed to MT Tura II to evade detection by security agencies.
Rear Admiral Olusegun Ferreira, Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), along with other service chiefs, visited the scene and assured that investigations are underway to uncover the culprits behind this illicit act.
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