Crude Oil Theft: Navy Arrests Vessel, Fingers Tantita Security Services

The Nigerian Navy has alleged the involvement of Tantita Security Services Limited, the private security outfit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd, in a crude oil illegality involving an arrested vessel, MT VINNALARIS 1 Lagos.

A statement on Thursday by the NN’s Director of Information, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, disclosed that the vessel was detected by Forward Operating Base, (FOB) IGBOKODA in Ondo on Wednesday 6 December 2023 at about 10:00 pm, and arrested in the early hours of Thursday 7 December 2023.

The vessel, which had 17 crew members of Nigerian nationality onboard at the time of arrest was caught engaging in illegal siphoning of crude oil from one of the well heads at EBESAN oil field about 7 nautical miles off the coast of Awoye riverine community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.

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The apprehension of the vessel was based on credible intelligence received by the Base on the illegal activities of crude oil thieves at the location which informed the swift deployment of FOB IGBOKODA personnel to enforce the arrest of the vessel and her crew.

TheFact Daily learns that as the anti-Crude Oil Theft Patrol Team of FOB IGBOKODA approached MT VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS, the 2 boats attached to the vessel fled on sighting the naval personnel, which confirmed the engagement of the vessel in illegality.

As at the time of the arrest, the vessel, which has a 15,000 metric-tonne capacity had loaded about 500 metric tonnes of crude oil.

The NN’s suspicion of TSS’s involvement is fuelled by the fact that the Awoye riverine area, which is close to the place of arrest is covered by TSS. The statement also adds that “it was upon the arrest of the vessel by the Nigerian Navy that TSS began to raise a false alarm, totally unfounded and indeed mischievous”.

“Nonetheless, the Nigerian Navy remains resolute in the pursuit of her constitutional mandate for the protection of Nigeria’s maritime environment for national economic development and prosperity”, the statement said.

It also warned criminals and their cohorts that it will use all legitimate means at its disposal to track and arrest perpetrators of illegalities in Nigeria’s maritime environment while soliciting the cooperation of patriotic and well-meaning members of the public to promptly report any form of criminalities, especially in the coastal communities to the Nigerian Navy for necessary action.

Headquartered in the heart of the Niger Delta Region in Warri, Delta State, Tantita Security Services Limited is a private security company owned by Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, an ex-Niger Delta agitator, and is a guardian of the Oil and Gas Sector’s critical assets.

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