Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL), a private organisation hired by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to combat oil thieves in the Niger Delta region, has apprehended an ocean-going vessel transporting thousands of metric tonnes of’stolen crude’ in offshore Bayelsa State.
The arrests happened as the private security group stepped up its crackdown on persistent oil thieves in the Niger Delta.
Tantita stated that the vessel, MT Kally, was arrested during a joint operation by TSSL authorities and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) agents on the night of Friday, January 12, 2024.
Tantita identified the vessel’s engineer and skipper as Promise Eze and Adeboye David, respectively, and their accomplices from certain Bayelsa State oil villages. They were kept on board the vessel on Friday night as the inquiry progressed.
Tantita said that before being captured, the crew and their local accomplices were syphoning crude oil into the vessel from the offshore Sokebolou field in Bayelsa State. According to the security business, the vessel’s first manifold was loaded prior to the security team’s intervention, Daily Trust reports.
When questioned by Warredi Enisuoh, Executive Director, Tantita operations, Eze and Adeboye stated that the vessel was dispatched from Lagos to transfer crude oil illegally from offshore sites in Bayelsa state.
The two top vessel operatives said they left Lagos after being assured by their boss, whom they declined to name, that all security agencies along the beach had been’settled’, allowing them to conduct their illegal business without interference.
Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu praised Tantita Security Services and other security agencies for battling oil theft in the country.
Major General Christopher Musa, Chief of Defence Staff, delivered the praise on behalf of the President while inspecting the seized MT Kali and the suspects paraded by Tantita and other security agencies in Oporoza, Delta State.
The CDS, joined by officials from Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and top military officers, threatened to deal severely with oil thieves and their backers as a warning to others.
He stated that the arrested vessel would be destroyed in accordance with standard practice.
He stated, “We are here based on the report of this ship’s capture, which I believe is a significant success. It demonstrates our commitment to putting a halt to this illicit activity in the maritime environment.