In a significant operation, a private security contractor employed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL) successfully intercepted a vessel transporting 800,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil.
On July 7, operatives from Messrs. Tantita Security Services apprehended the vessel and its crew members in an offshore location as they were en route to Cameroon.
Mr. Garba Muhammad, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPCL, made an official statement in Abuja on Monday, disclosing the details of the operation.
The vessel in question, named MT TURA II with the IMO number 6620462, is registered under the ownership of HOLAB MARITIME SERVICES LIMITED, a Nigerian company with the Registration Number RC813311.
Initial investigations indicate that the crude oil cargo onboard was illicitly sourced from an offshore well jacket in Ondo State, Nigeria.
Mr. Muhammad stated, “At the time of the arrest, neither the vessel nor the crude oil cargo onboard possessed valid documentation. 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 12 years. The last recorded location of the vessel was at Tin Can Port in July 2011.”
Authorities have promptly escalated the arrest details and investigation findings to the appropriate government bodies for further action.
This stern action, including the destruction of the vessel, serves as a clear and forceful warning to all individuals involved in such unlawful activities.
Mr. Muhammad emphasized the paramount importance of destroying vessels engaged in the transportation of stolen crude oil, as it acts as a potent deterrent.
“The illicit trade of stolen crude oil not only results in significant economic losses for Nigeria and legitimate stakeholders in the oil industry but also perpetuates corruption, environmental devastation, and social instability. NNPC Ltd. reassures Nigerians that we will relentlessly pursue the eradication of crude oil theft until it is completely stamped out,” he affirmed.