The Tantita Security Services Limited, the private company in the forefront in the fight against oil theft, has again arrested another vessel for alleged theft of the nation’s crude oil in Bayelsa State.
The Moldovan Sea Cargo, MT Harbor Spirit was laddened with over 80,000 litres of crude oil with 12 Nigerian crew when it was taken by the operatives of the security outfit.
The Executive Director – Operations and Technical, TSSL, Copt. Warredi Enisuoh, broke the news to journalists at Oporoza, Warri South West Local Government Area where of Delta State on Tuesday, February 6, 2024.
Enisuoh said that vessel was arrested with the collaborative efforts of Tantita operatives and the nation’s military.
The vessel, MT Harbour Spirit with IMO No: 8226272, has been taken to Tantita’s operational base at Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State for further investigation.
The vessel is currently anchored at Tantita facility at Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Enisouh, thanked the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, for the collaborative efforts between Tantita and the military.
“The Chief of Defence Staff in his very strict instructions on dealing with the scourge of crude oil theft said we are working in synergy with all available forces, the Nigerian army, the Nigerian Navy, Police, NSCDC, the DSS to bring to the barest minimum, if not completely eliminate the situation.
“And what we can see here today is a result of that instruction and order which was also heavily supported by the Chief of Naval Staff, who will immediately put his men into the ship.
“This ship was being sought out by law enforcement agents for a while and not today, not yesterday. Quite a while back, it is not a Nigerian registered ship. As a matter of fact, she’s a Moldovan ship. However, the crew is Nigerian.
“The inspector General of Police has set up a special team to investigate the ship. The whole idea is to drill down to the sponsors of the ship. Those who have been using the ship to perpetrate crimes against the country.
“Now, this ship was monitored specifically by the Nigerian Navy as well as ourselves too. And it came close a lot for apprehension on this particular day, just about two days ago, precisely on early hours of Sunday.
“Our detection systems found it nosing around Sagana oil fields Bayelsa and what had happened there was that we swung into action and discovered that they made a fast one on the oil platforms there. And let me put on record that they cooperated and we were able to apprehend an arrest them.
“So we have taken soundings of the contents but estimates is that it has got about 80,000 litres and not that we could not have allowed it to take more, but that is not the objective. The objective is to prevent them from doing that so what they do is they show their motive and intention.
“So we got about 12 or 13 thereabout, we’ve got a couple of others who give them support from the community as well when we swooped on them at about 1am on Sunday.” He said
The Capt of MT Harbor Spirit Captain Joseph Shittu told Journalists revealed that he was sent to load crude from a vessel by his employers from Lagos.
“We were apprehended at the loading point in Sagana by the Tantita boys and the civil defence, because even the operation we were not happy for the operation,we were trying to find our way to go down before they came.
“We wanted out because the place they took us to we were not pleased with place, but to get a boats from there was difficult. They sent a boat later on but the boat man told us he doesn’t have fuel that we should before that we just give him time to 2am or 3am so that we can proceed.
“It didn’t get to 30 seconds that we put our bags into the boat to disembark from the boats from the vessel that we were apprehended.
” Immediately, three of my crew jumped into the water and I never hear from them right now. I don’t even know where they are. We are just a crew. We are Nigerians, it is what we want to eat that is all we are looking for. That is that is the reason why we were employed on board this vessel, we are family men.
“I was employed by Jojo Oil and Gas in Lagos, the instruction is that we should go and load slurge crude oil from a barge, on our way going they told us that one person will come on board, which is super cargo or pilot, but I don’t know. When we got to deep sea they told us that we should stand by that the vessel was not ready that a pilot is on board that will take us to the place of loading and we are not pleased with it.
“We are not pleased with it. And we tell them that is the reason that we want to disembark. Unfortunately, we were arrested.” He said.
Meanwhile, the nation’s campaign against oil theft received a major boost with the Navy’s avowed collaboration with Tantita Security to intensify the ongoing campaign against the theft of the nation’s crude resources amidst rising economic challenges.
Top operatives involved in the campaign against oil theft told the journalists that the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, has set up a special task force to collaborate with Tantita in waging the battle against oil thieves.
It was learnt that efforts are bring made to finalize operational arrangements with Tantita in the renewed collaboration which is receiving attention pinnacle security circles in the Tinubu administration.
A source close to the arrangement told the media on the condition of anonymity that the Naval Task and operatives of Tantita Security Services Limited would collaborate to effectively cover the nation’s waters and rid them of oil theft,