The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it intercepted a suspicious vessel carrying 800,000 litres of stolen crude oil en route to Cameroon.
This is contained in a statement by its spokesperson, Garba Deen Muhammad, on Monday.
On Friday, July 7, a Private Security Contractor engaged by NNPC, Messrs. Tantita Security Services, intercepted a suspicious Vessel with a Cargo of Crude oil on board, according to Muhammad.
Muhammad disclosed that the vessel in question, named MT Tura II (IMO number: 6620462), is owned by Holab Marine Services Limited, a Nigerian registered company with Registration Number RC813311.
He stated that the vessel was apprehended at an offshore location (Latitude: 5.8197194477543235°, Longitude: 4.789002723991871°) while en route to Cameroon with the illicit cargo. The vessel’s captain and crew members were also on board at the time of the interception.
Muhammad noted that preliminary investigations revealed that the crude oil cargo on board was obtained illegally from an offshore well jacket in Ondo State and that neither the vessel nor the crude oil cargo had valid documentation 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 twelve (12) years. The last reported location of the Vessel was Tin Can Port in July 2011,” Muhammad added.
According to him, the details of this arrest and the findings of the investigations were escalated to the appropriate government authorities, and it was decided to destroy the Vessel as a strong warning and deterrent to all those involved in such illegal activities to stop and desist.
“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, however, assures Nigerians that it will maintain momentum in its fight against crude oil theft until this illicit practice is brought to a complete halt.