Niger Delta

Oil Theft! Another Big Catch By Tompolo’s Tantita In Niger Delta Creeks

Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting

BARELY a month after the interception of MT KALI a thieving vessel with number 8782800, operatives of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd (TSSNL), owned by Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, in collaboration with other security personnel, have intercepted another thieving vessel in the Niger Delta Creeks. 

Arrested onboard the vessel were 13 crew members and two community accomplices by TSSNL in collaboration with other security operatives from the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

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MT Harbour Spirit

The vessel, MT Harbour Spirit with IMO No: 8226272, is currently being anchored at Tantita facility at Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

The vessel was intercepted at about 1.00 a.m in the wee hours of Sunday as it was said to be loitering around Segana Oil Field in Bayelsa, and loading crude oil illegally.

Tantita’s Executive Director (Operations), Captain Warriedi Enisuoh, paraded the ill-fated ‘Harbor Spirit’ and its arrested crew members to journalists on Tuesday at Tantita facility at Oporoza in Gbaramatu Kingdom, near Escravos.

He noted that the ship was “arrested at about 1.00 a.m in the early hours of Sunday as it was loitering around Segana Oil Field in Bayelsa, where it was already anchored into one of the oil platforms there loading crude oil illegally”.

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MT Harbour Spirit

According to Warriedi Enisuoh, about 88,000 litres of crude oil had already been siphoned illegally by the vessel’s crew as of the time of the arrest “but the objective of the arrest is mainly to prevent oil theft”.

“What they took showed their motive”, he stated.

Enisuoh told journalists that Tantita security operatives had been on the trail of the arrested ship “for a while” following security reports.

He explained that the surveillance in collaboration with other security agencies was aimed at “drawing down the sponsors of the ship and those who have been using the ship to perpetrate crime against the country”.

“What you see here today is a result of the strict instruction and order by the Chief of Defence Staff on how to deal with the scourge of crude oil theft which was heavily supported by the entire security forces”, he added.

Enisuoh expressed delight over the synergy between Tantita and other security agencies, adding that the vessel was not registered in Nigeria.

He noted that the crew members of the arrested vessel “had been quite cooperative and did not protest as we apprehended the vessel and moved them here for further investigation to take place”.

Fielding questions from journalists, the Captain of the arrested thieving vessel, who identified himself as Shittu Joseph, affirmed that he “was apprehended at the loading point at Segana by the Tantita and NSCDC operatives.

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The arrested crew members

“Personally, we were not happy with the botched operation as we were already making efforts to find our ways out before the security operatives swung on us.

“Three of my crew members even jumped into the water and we are yet to hear from them up till now.

“We are just a crew; we are Nigerians and it is only what we want to eat that we are looking for.

“That’s the reason why we were employed by Joju Oil and Gas in Lagos and the instruction was that we should go and load from a badge,” he confessed.

The Head of Investigations of the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering, CSP Omar John Sini, told newsmen that “investigation has since began and that further progress and eventual outcome of the investigation will be made public through the office of the Force Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force”.

Sini disclosed that the police have made breakthroughs severally on earlier arrests, insisting that details will soon be made public through the office of the Force Public Relations Officer.

“Be rest assured that in pursuant to the Inspector General of Police directive, robust investigation will be conducted, targeted at tracking or backtracking the actual culprits behind this crime”, he stated.

Stonix News recalled that that TSSNL, in collaboration with the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in January, had intercepted a vessel engaged in stealing crude oil in the Niger Delta.

The vessel, MT Kali with number 8782800, was intercepted while allegedly transporting a voluminous tonnes of illegal crude oil from offshore Sokebolou Field base in Bayelsa State.

The feat attracted ovations from President Bola Tinubu and other patriots across the country with TSSNL being awarded the private security outfit of the year by the New Telegraph newspapers in Lagos.

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