The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has announced the successful interception of an 800,000-litre capacity vessel loaded with stolen crude. The operation was carried out by Tantita Security Services Limited, a security partner owned by former Niger Delta militant, Tompolo.
According to a statement released on July 10 by Garba Deen Muhammad, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer at NNPC Limited, the vessel, named MT TURA II, was en route to Cameroon when it was apprehended at an offshore location. The vessel, owned by HOLAB MARITIME SERVICES LIMITED, a Nigerian registered company, was intercepted with the captain and crew members on board.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the illegally sourced crude oil cargo onboard was extracted from an offshore well jacket in Ondo State, Nigeria. Disturbingly, neither the vessel nor the crude oil cargo had valid documentation at the time of the arrest.
Further scrutiny conducted at the NNPC Limited Command and Control Centre uncovered that the vessel had been operating clandestinely for the past twelve years, with its last reported location dating back to July 2011 at Tin Can Port.
As a stern message to all individuals involved in such illegal activities, the appropriate government authorities have decided to destroy the vessel after reviewing the details of the arrest and investigation. This action serves as a strong warning and deterrent against participation in the illegal trade of stolen crude oil, which not only causes substantial economic losses but also perpetuates corruption, environmental degradation, and social instability.
NNPC Limited had engaged Tantita Security Services Limited, along with other third-party security firms, in 2022 to assist in combating crude oil theft within the country.