An unlawful oil bunkering vessel seized with allegedly stolen crude oil on the Niger Delta creeks was reportedly destroyed by personnel associated with the Nigerian Navy on 10 October in Delta State.
Reports showed that on 6 October, on the creeks of Escravos, the agents of the private oil pipeline monitoring group, Tanita Security Services, reportedly arrested the vessel and its seven-member crew while the crude oil was being loaded unlawfully.
The vessel with the registration number “L85 B9.50” was loaded with 600–650 cubic meters to nearly five compartments full of oil illegally taken when it was apprehended.
Close to 3 pm on 10 October, personnel of the Nigerian Navy set fire to the ill-fated vessel on the Warri River after the vessel’s captain named, Temple Manasseh, confessed that the ship was indeed loaded with crude.
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In his revelation, Manasseh admitted that the agents of Tantita Security Services had detained him and the crew mates. Besides, he added that some armed individuals forcefully kidnapped the vessel, diverted it through the waterways, and loaded it with crude oil.
He said that Tompolo boys arrested him in Escravos. However, the alleged stolen crude oil had not been loaded by him. My vessel was reportedly hijacked by a few boys who compelled the loaded crude into his boat. He does not know the hijackers.
But as the Tompolo security operatives stormed the scenario, they abandoned the loading operation that had lasted for about two and a half hours.
Captain Warredi Enisuoh, the marine intelligence consultant, associated with Tantita Security Services, reportedly confirmed that the arrest resulted from intelligence gathering, explaining that the security personnel had monitored the space via satellite. However, the officials of the Nigerian Navy officials who had destroyed the illegal oil vessel denied speaking to journalists regarding the incident.
Records, per Captain Enisuoh, reflect that the Dutch vessel sold to a Nigerian was used for illegally transporting crude oil for several years. He added that the captured ship was supposed to transport stolen oil to Ghana’s Tema. Enisuoh expressed delight that the operation spearheaded by the Tanita Security Services in association with Operation Delta Safe, a private- and government-sector initiative, has resulted in positive results, eventually leading to the arrest.
Ensure further informed the journalists that Tantita had intelligence on the five vessels. The only one (the destroyed vessel) had come in since the security operations had started. And identities of the vessel’s owners were established.
References: Punch, NTM