Tantila Security Services, a private security contractor working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, successfully intercepted a suspicious vessel carrying 800,000 litres of crude oil on July 7, 2023.
In a statement released on Twitter, the NNPC, a state-owned company, confirmed the incident, attributing it to credible intelligence. Garba Deen Muhammad, the chief corporate communications officer, signed the statement.
According to the NNPC, the vessel, named MT TURA II (IMO number: 6620462), belonged to a Nigerian registered company, Holab Maritime Services Limited, with Registration Number RC813311. It was en route to Cameroon with the illicit cargo when it was apprehended at an offshore location. The vessel’s captain and crew members were on board during the interception.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the NNPC revealed that the crude oil cargo had been illegally sourced from an offshore well jacket in Ondo State, Nigeria. At the time of the arrest, there were no valid documents available for the vessel or the crude oil cargo. Further scrutiny of the vessel’s activities at the NNPC Ltd. Command and Control Centre unveiled that it had been operating discreetly for the past twelve years. The vessel’s last reported location was Tin Can Port in July 2011.
The NNPC stated, “Details of this arrest and the outcomes of the investigations were escalated to the appropriate government authorities, upon which it was concluded to destroy the vessel to serve as a strong warning and deterrent to all those participating in such illegal activities to cease and desist.”
The company emphasized the significance of destroying vessels involved in transporting stolen crude oil as a potent deterrent. The illegal trade of stolen crude oil not only causes substantial economic losses to Nigeria and legitimate stakeholders in the oil industry but also perpetuates corruption, environmental devastation, and social instability.
The NNPC assured Nigerians that it remains committed to intensifying efforts in the fight against crude oil theft until it is completely eradicated. The interception of the suspicious vessel and the subsequent actions taken demonstrate the company’s resolve to safeguard Nigeria’s oil resources and promote transparency and accountability in the industry.