In line with his promise to completely eradicate crude oil theft, President Bola Tinubu has given marching orders to the Nigerian Navy to destroy a massive ship intercepted by the Navy on the high seas with stolen Nigerian crude oil, MOUTHPIECE NGR has learnt.
A statement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), signed by Garba Deen Muhammad, the company’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer and obtained by our correspondent, said on Monday an 800,000-litre (211,338-U.S. gallon) vessel carrying stolen crude had been intercepted offshore while heading to Cameroon and would be destroyed as a deterrent to oil theft.
Crude theft from pipelines and wells in the Niger Delta has hobbled the country’s output in recent years and is one of the biggest challenges to confront new President Bola Tinubu.
NNPC said the oil was stolen from a well in south western Ondo state. The MT Tura II vessel was owned by locally registered Holab Maritime Services Limited and had no valid documentation for the oil, the company said.
The statement reads in part: “Following the receipt of credible intelligence, a Private Security Contractor engaged by NNPC Ltd., Messrs. Tantita Security Services, intercepted a suspicious Vessel with a Cargo of Crude oil on board on July 7, 2023.
“The Vessel, MT TURA II (IMO number: 6620462), owned by a Nigerian Registered Company, HOLAB MARITIME SERVICES LIMITED with Registration Number RC813311, was heading to Cameroun with the Cargo on board when it was apprehended at an offshore location (Latitude: 5.8197194477543235°, Longitude: 4.789002723991871°), with the Captain and Crew members on board.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that the crude oil cargo onboard was illegally sourced from a well jacket offshore Ondo State, Nigeria. There was no valid documentation for the Vessel or the Crude Oil Cargo onboard at the time of the arrest.
“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.
“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.
“Destroying vessels involved in transporting stolen crude oil is of paramount importance as a strong deterrent. The 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 Ltd. assures Nigerians that we will sustain the momentum in the war against crude oil theft until it is brought to a halt.
Efforts to reach Holab for comment on numbers listed on its website was abortive.
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