Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
OPERATIVES of the Tantita Security Services Ltd (TSSL), the pipeline surveillance security outfit owned by the former militants leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a. Tompolo, has intercepted a massive vessel, MT Tura 11, laden with 150 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil at the Escravos sea in Delta State.
This is in line with its effort to increase Nigeria’s wealth and stabilize her oil economy,
The 500 capacity vessel was arrested by Tantita operatives in collaboration with the military Joint Tax Force (JTF) in the early hours of Saturday, July 4th, 2023,
on the high sea around the Ondo State axis of the Niger Delta creeks.
The thieving vessel, after its rearrest, was redirected and anchored at Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Speaking with journalists at Oporoza during unveiling and inspection of the vessel late Monday, the Executive Director, Technical and Operations, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, said the notorious vessel had been in the thieving business for long.
According to him, the ship was arrested with 13 crew members during the sting operation.
He added that the pipeline surveillance firm had deployed both human and technical intelligence in monitoring the movements of the vessel until it was finally apprehended in the high sea around Ondo State.
“A criminal ship that has terrorized Nigerian maritime economy and sovereignty for 10 years, called Ali Riza Bay, who later changed her name to MT Tura ll, has been brought to book.
“Ten years ago, the vessel was arrested, but some how, it escaped; since then, the security forces have been looking for it, it was really difficult to get the vessel because when it escaped 10 years ago, she changed her name from Ali Riza Bay to MT Tura ll, which was registered in Togo and since then has been stealing crude oil from Nigeria to countries like Cameroon and others,” Captain Enisuoh alleged.
He added that “unknown to the perpetrators, we have been monitoring the movements of the vessel until we finally apprehended her off the coast in Ondo State.
“The original name of the vessel was Ali-Riza-Bey, but it was altered to ‘MT Tura 11’ to evade the eagle eyes of security agencies.”
Captain Enisuoh vowed to lead TSSL to conscientiously salvage the oil economy of Nigeria in line with its contract mandate.
He commended the security agencies for their cooperation in the task to rid the maritime domain of all criminal activities.
The Commander, JTF Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), Rear Admiral Olusegun Ferreira, who led other security chiefs to the Oporoza where the thieving vessel is anchored, while speaking to journalists at Oporoza, said an investigation was ongoing to unmask the perpetrators of the act.
He, however, lauded the synergy among members of the OPDS – Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, NSCDC, Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Immigration Service, EFCC, and other agencies – that led to the successful rearrest of the vessel.
The thieving vessel was later handed over to the troops of the Operation Delta Safe, who are saddled with the mandate of ridding the Niger Delta of all criminality, for destruction.