A vessel conveying 800,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil has been intercepted by a private security contractor engaged by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPC Ltd).
The vessel and its crew members were apprehended on July 7, by operatives of Messrs. Tantita Security Services at an offshore location heading to Cameroon.
Mr. Garba Muhammad, Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPCL., said this in a statement on Monday Abuja.
He explained that the Vessel, MT TURA II, IMO number: 6620462, was owned by a Nigerian company, HOLAB MARITIME SERVICES LIMITED with Registration Number RC813311.
According to him, preliminary investigations revealed that the crude oil cargo on-board was illegally sourced from a well jacket offshore in Ondo State, Nigeria.
“There was no valid documentation for the Vessel or the Crude Oil Cargo on-board at the time of the arrest.
“Further investigation into the activities of the vessel at the NNPC Ltd. Command and Control Centre also revealed that the Vessel has been operating in stealth mode for the last 12 years.
`The last reported location of the Vessel was Tin Can Port in July 2011,’’ he said.
He further said that the details of the arrest and the outcomes of the investigations were escalated to the appropriate government authorities.
This, he said, was to destroy the Vessel to serve as a strong warning and deterrent to all those participating in such illegal activities.
According to him, destroying vessels involved in transporting stolen crude oil is of paramount importance as a strong deterrent.
“The illegal trade of stolen crude oil not only inflicts significant economic losses on Nigeria and legitimate stakeholders in the oil industry, but also perpetuates a cycle of corruption, environmental devastation, and social instability.
“NNPC Ltd. assures Nigerians that we will sustain the momentum in the war against crude oil theft until it is brought to a halt,’’ he said.