TANTITA Security Services Ltd. has arrested MT TURA 11 vessel laden with 150,000 litres of products suspected to be stolen crude oil with 12 crew on board.
Capt. Warredi Enisuoh, Executive Director, Technical and Operations, disclosed this while addressing newsman on the arrest on Monday in Oporoza, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta.
Enisuoh said that the vessel which has a capacity of 500 metric tons, was arrested while siphoning crude oil from a platform jacket on the Escravos River, off Ondo State.
He explained that the vessel was manufactured in 1965 and its name was unlawfully changed from Ali Riza Bay to MT TURA 11.
“We have been after this vessel a long time. Somehow through satellite and human intelligence, we are able to pick it somewhere off Ondo State.
“About 10 years ago, this vessel was arrested, handed over to the law enforcement agency, somehow, they escaped and changed the name from Ali Riza Bay to MT TURA 11.
“They intelligently registered it as a Nigeria vessel whereas when deeply checked, there was nothing to show that it was a Nigeria registered vessel,” he said.
Enisuoh said that with the heavy security at the creeks, the oil thieves are finding it difficult to carry out their nefarious activities.
He said that they now concentrate on siphoning crude from the platforms in the Sea.
Enisuoh said that TANTITA was collaborating with government security agencies like the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to carry out its functions.
Enisuoh urged the authority to focus more on those sponsoring the crude oil theft rather than the crews on board vessels.
He warned perpetrators to desist from the act, as the security outfit and government security agencies would not relent in their efforts to tackle the ugly trend.
Enisuoh advised those intending to invest in illicit activities in the Nigerian marine space to have a rethink.
Also speaking, Vice Adm. Eugenio Ferreira, Commandant, Operation DELTA SAFE, said that the vessel would be handled in line with laid down procedures.
“There are guidelines that when a vessel is arrested, the suspects will be taken into custody while investigation continues.
“The products are taken for samples by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and when investigation is concluded, then appropriate action will be taken,” he said.
Also at the presentation, were NNPCL officials, Mr Bala Wunti, Chief Upstream Investment Officer, represented by Mr Zakariya Buduwara, Head, Joint venture (JV), Investment Management Services and some members of the NNPCL Command and Control Centre.