The battle against oil theft has recorded a big gain with the interception and destruction of an 800,000 litres vessel laden with stolen crude.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Monday said its private security contractor, Tantita Security Services, has intercepted and destroyed a vessel with 800,000 litres of stolen crude oil.
Chief Communications Officer of the oil giant, Garba Deen Muhammad, said in a statement that the vessel, which was on its way to Cameroon, was apprehended with its captain and crew members on board.
The NATION reports that sixty-four illegal crude oil connections have also been discovered while 77 illegal refineries were destroyed in the Niger Delta last week.
The statement reads: “Following the receipt of credible intelligence, a Private Security Contractor engaged by NNPC Ltd., Messrs. Tantita Security Services intercepted a suspicious Vessel with a cargo of crude oil on board on July 7, 2023.
“The Vessel, MT TURA II (IMO number: 6620462), owned by a Nigerian Registered Company, HOLAB MARITIME SERVICES LIMITED with Registration Number RC813311, was heading to Cameroon with the cargo on board when it was apprehended at an offshore location (Latitude: 5.8197194477543235°, Longitude: 4.789002723991871°), with the Captain and Crew members on board.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that the crude oil cargo onboard was illegally sourced from a well jacket offshore Ondo State, Nigeria.
“There was no valid documentation for the Vessel or the Crude Oil Cargo onboard at the time of the arrest.
“Further investigation into the activities of the vessel at the NNPC Ltd Command and Control Centre also revealed that the vessel has been operating in stealth mode for the last twelve (12) years. The last reported location of the vessel was Tin Can Port in July 2011.
“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.
“Destroying vessels involved in transporting stolen crude oil is of paramount importance as a strong deterrent. 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.”