The Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited in collaboration with the Nigerian Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps have arrested a Mordovia’s vessel, MT Harbor Spirit, with IMO No. 8226272 in Bayelsa State.
The vessel was arrested alongside 12 Nigerian crew members perpetrating illegal crude oil bunkering in the state.
The Executive Director, Operations, Tantita, Captain Warriedi Enisuoh, while parading the vessel and the crew members on Tuesday, said the vessel was presently anchored at Tantita facility at Oporoza in the Gbaramatu Kingdom, near Escravos.
He noted that the ship was arrested at about 1 am on Sunday, saying it was loitering around Sangana Oilfield in Bayelsa, where it was already anchored into one of the oil platforms and loading crude oil illegally.
According to Enisuoh, about 88,000 litres of crude oil have already been siphoned illegally by the vessel’s crew as of the time of the arrest.
He added that the objective of the arrest was mainly to prevent oil theft.
He explained that the surveillance in collaboration with other security agencies was aimed at arresting the sponsors of the ship and those who had been using the ship to perpetrate crime in 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 said.
Fielding questions from journalists, the captain of the arrested vessel, who gave his name as Shittu Joseph, affirmed that he was apprehended at the loading point at Sangana by the Tantita and the NSCDC operatives.
He said, “We are not happy with the botched operation as we are already making efforts to find our way out before the security operatives swooped on us.
“Three of my crew members even jumped into the water and we have 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.”
The Head of Investigations of the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering, Chief Superintendent of Police, Omar Sini, told newsmen that the investigation had begun.
He added that progress and the eventual outcome of the investigation would be made public through the office of the Force Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force.