private security contractor, Tantita Security Services, working for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), has seized a vessel carrying crude oil that was obtained illegally.
The vessel, MT TURA II, belongs to a Nigerian company, HOLAB MARITIME SERVICES LIMITED, and was on its way to Cameroun with the crude oil when it was caught at a location offshore Ondo State, Nigeria, on 7 July, according to a statement by the NNPCL’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Garba Deen Muhammad. The captain and crew members were also arrested.
The statement said that the vessel and the crude oil had no valid documents and that the vessel had been operating secretly for 12 years. The last time the vessel was seen was at Tin Can Port in July 2011.
The NNPCL said it reported the arrest and the findings to the relevant government authorities, who decided to destroy the vessel as a strong warning and deterrent to those involved in such illegal activities.
The NNPCL said that destroying vessels that transport stolen crude oil is very important as a deterrent, because the theft of crude oil causes huge economic losses, corruption, environmental damage, and social unrest in Nigeria.
The NNPCL vowed to continue the fight against crude oil theft until it is stopped.
Nigeria has seen a rise in oil theft incidents in its oil-producing region, which has affected its revenue generation.
To tackle crude oil theft, the Nigerian government launched an app in August last year to monitor cases of theft.
The NNPC also gave a contract worth billions of naira to a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, Government Tompolo, to protect its pipelines.