Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, in collaboration with Nigerian law enforcement agencies, recently intercepted the Mordovia vessel, MT Harbor Spirit, bearing IMO No. 8226272, in Bayelsa State.
The vessel, along with 12 Nigerian crew members, was apprehended for engaging in illegal crude oil bunkering activities within the state.
According to Captain Warriedi Enisuoh, the Executive Director of Operations at Tantita, the vessel was seized around 1 am on Sunday while loitering near the Sangana Oilfield in Bayelsa, illicitly loading crude oil. The vessel is presently anchored at Tantita’s facility in Oporoza, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State.
Enisuoh disclosed that approximately 88,000 liters of crude oil had already been unlawfully siphoned by the vessel’s crew at the time of the arrest. The operation’s primary objective was to combat oil theft and safeguard the nation’s resources.
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.
In a statement to reporters, Captain Shittu Joseph, the head of the arrested vessel, confirmed their interception at the loading point in Sangana by Tantita and NSCDC operatives.
He expressed regret over the operation’s failure and lamented the loss of three crew members who jumped into the water during the apprehension.
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.”
Chief Superintendent of Police, Omar Sini, Head of Investigations for the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering, stated that investigations had commenced and assured that updates would be provided through the Nigeria Police Force’s Public Relations Office.
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