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Navy says it arrested a 15,000 MT vessel in the process of stealing 95,000 barrels of crude oil  

The Nigerian Navy has said it arrested a 15,000 MT vessel in the process of stealing 95,000 barrels of crude oil. During a recent interview with Arise News, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command in Apapa said that on December 6, his team received credible intelligence of oil theft activities off the shores of Awoye, in Ondo state.  

According to him, the Navy was able to intercept a 15,000 metric ton (MT) vessel that was in the process of stealing 95,000 barrels of crude oil which is about N6 billion going by current market rates. He said: 

Rear Admiral Hassan said that his men found a connection between the oil platform and the ship. He stated further that there were two hoses tied and the ship was being loaded. At the time of the interruption, the ship had loaded two-thirds of the value of what they wanted.  

He said that he was shocked to hear that private security company, Tantita sent a message to NNPCL that they arrested the vessel, but most importantly the Awoye riverine area is highly populated by militants and Tantita has good intelligence in the area.

He suggested that if there was good intelligence in the area, he expected Tantita to inform him so he would swing into action, but nothing was heard from them.  

According to Rear Admiral Hassan, the next day, Tantita tried to move the ship that was intercepted by the Navy to Oporoza in Delta state. He said he was baffled as to why a contractor (Tantita) would try to take a ship from a legitimate custodian of arrested vessels to a creek for what they called collective testing.  

He said the Navy already knew it was crude oil and communicated the same to the Tantita team. He further alleged that there are bad eggs everywhere so it could be possible that some persons may be embroiled in crude oil theft and were trying to take the ship to save face. 

Meanwhile, Tantita responded through its Operations and Technical Director, Warredi Enisuoh, who said that the Navy’s accusation is defamatory and false. He said: 

The real order of things 

Rear Admiral Hassan said that under the Federal Government contract with private security companies like Tantita, the latter are just like other citizens of the country and are meant to provide intelligence to the Military and help to achieve success in the fight against crude oil theft. He said they have been working in sync with these private security companies, but Tantita seems to want to overstep her bounds. 

He said: 

He also alleged that Tantita operatives may find it difficult to adhere to instructions based on their lawless roots, but he thinks all parties need to work together to achieve the common goal of saving the country’s economy from crude oil theft.  

In August 2022, former president, Muhammadu Buhari approved the multi-billion-naira pipeline security contract in oil-producing areas of the Niger Delta region to Tantita Security Services Limited, a company led by former militant, Tompolo, with support from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL). Some Nigerians opposed the deal; however, the federal government went ahead and renewed the contract a year later.