Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL), a private firm engaged by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to fight against oil thieves in the Niger Delta region has arrested an ocean-going vessel conveying thousands of metric tons of ‘stolen crude’ in offshore Bayelsa State.
The arrests came as the private security firm intensified its onslaught on unyielding oil thieves in the Niger Delta.
According to Tantita, the vessel, MT Kally, was apprehended during a joint operation by officials of TSSL and operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), on the night of Friday, January 12, 2024.
The engineer and captain of the vessel, who were identified by Tantita as Promise Eze and Adeboye David, respectively and their accomplices from some Bayelsa State oil communities, were kept on board the vessel on Friday night as investigation of the vessel continued.
Tantita said before they were apprehended, the crew and their local accomplices were allegedly syphoning crude oil into the vessel from the offshore Sokebolou field in Bayelsa State. The security firm said the first manifold of the vessel was being loaded before the intervention of the security team.
On interrogation by Warredi Enisuoh, Executive Director, Tantita operations, Eze and Adeboye, said the vessel was mobilised from Lagos to transport crude oil illegally from offshore locations in Bayelsa State.
The two top vessel operatives said they departed Lagos following assurances by their boss, whom they declined to name, that all security agencies along the shore had been ‘settled’, thus allowing them to carry out their illegal business without hindrance.
Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has commended Tantita Security Services and other security agencies for combating oil theft in the country.
Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Christopher Musa gave the commendation on behalf of the President while inspecting the impounded MT. Kali and the paraded suspects by Tantita and other security agencies at Oporoza, Delta State.
The CDS flanked by officials of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL and top military brass promised to deal ruthlessly with oil thieves and their sponsors to serve as a deterrent to others.
He noted that the arrested vessel would be destroyed in line with standard practice.
He said, “We are here based on the report of the arrest of this ship, and I think it’s a major achievement. It shows that we’re committed to ensuring that we stop this criminality within the maritime environment.
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