Nigeria Says Intercepts Vessel With Stolen Crude Oil, to Destroy It

Nigeria´s oil firm NNPC Limited said on Monday an 800,000-litre capacity vessel with stolen crude oil had been intercepted by a private security contractor Tantita Security Services engaged by NNPC Limited.

The company issued a press release claiming that the vessel MT Tura II, owned by a Nigerian registered company, was heading to Cameroon with the cargo on board when it was apprehended with the captain and crew members on board.

The “suspicious” vessel, as the company NNPC characterises it, has been intercepted with a cargo of crude oil on board on July 7, 2023.

The vessel and its crew members were apprehended on July 7, by operatives of Messrs. Tantita Security Services at an offshore location heading to Cameroon.

The Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Limited, Garba Deen Muhammad, said in a statement that preliminary investigations revealed that the crude oil cargo onboard was illegally sourced from a well jacket offshore Ondo State, Nigeria.

He explained that there was no valid documentation for the vessel or the crude oil cargo onboard at the time of the arrest.

According to the statement by the company on Twitter, signed by Garba Deen Muhammad chief corporate communications officer, 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.

Nigeria’s oil firm NNPC Ltd also explains that the vessel carrying stolen crude oil would be destroyed as a deterrent to such illegal activities.

“Details of this arrest and the outcomes of the investigations were escalated to the appropriate Government authorities, upon which it was concluded to destroy the Vessel to serve as a strong warning and deterrent to all those participating in such illegal activities to cease and desist,” NNPC Ltd mentioned yesterday.

The corporate communications officer of the company highlighted the fact that 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 circulated a video in twitter showing the vessel surrounded by Nigerian security agents.

64 illegal crude oil connections, discovered, and 77 illegal refineries, destroyed in the Niger Delta in the past week, as NNPC estimates.