The Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL), has apprehended a vessel, MT Habour Spirit laden with an estimated 88,000 litres of stolen products suspected to be crude oil.
Capt. Warriedi Enisuoh; Executive Director, Operations and Technical of TSSL disclosed this to newsmen on Tuesday in Oporoza, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta.
Enisuoh said that the ship was apprehended at the early hours on Sunday in Bayelsa and conveyed to Oporoza.
According to him, the vessel with IMO Number: 8226272 was caught while loading crude oil from the Segana Oil Field in the coast of Bayelsa.
Enisuoh said that TSSL in synergy with the other government security agencies, had been on the trail of the vessel for some months before its final arrest.
“Immediately we found it loitering on Sunday about 1:00 am, we swung into action and discovered that it tapped into one of the oil platforms loading crude oil.
“We arrested the ship with 12 crew and three community persons on board the vessel,” he said.
This was the second vessel the private security outfit had arrested within three weeks.
Enisuoh said that few weeks ago, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa gave a strict instruction on how to deal with crude oil theft.
“One of his watch words is that we are working in synergy with the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, the Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Department of State Service.
“What we are seeing today is the result of the instruction which was supported by the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla that led to the arrest,” he said.
Enisuoh said that the vessel was a Moldovian registered while the crew were Nigerians.
He said that the ship had been specifically monitored by the Nigerian Navy and officials of the TSSL.
“We appreciate the synergy and cooperation we have with the security forces particularly the supports from the CDS and CNS.
“More of the arrest is taking place in Bayelsa probably because the perpetrators have found a porous ground.
“Probably the synergy between TSSL and the military has pushed them out of the land, though not totally eroded of the problem in the land,” he said.
Speaking with newsmen, the captain of the ship, Mr Shittu Joseph, said that they were15 crew and three of them jumped into the sea.
According to him, those that jumped into the sea had not been found.
He said that the vessel belongs to Joju Oil and Gas based in Lagos State.
“We were instructed to go and load sludge and crude oil from a barge. On our way going, they told us that one person will come on board..
“We were not pleased with the arrangement, we wanted to leave but while waiting for a boat to take us away, the NSCDC and TSSL officials came to arrest us,” he said.
In his remark, CSP Omar Sini, the Head of Investigation, Police Taskforce on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering, said investigation had since begun.
He said that the outcome of the investigation would be made public through the office of the Force Public Relations Officer in Abuja.
“A Robust investigation will be conducted to track the actual culprits behind the crime,” Sini said.