NNPC INTERCEPTS VESSEL CARRYING STOLEN CRUDE OIL, DECIDES TO DESTROY AS STRONG DETERRENT
By Nicolas Adekeye
In a significant development in the ongoing battle against crude oil theft, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) announced the interception of a vessel carrying illegally sourced crude oil. Following a thorough investigation, it was determined that the vessel, named MT TURA II, had been operating unnoticed for the past 12 years in stealth mode. The last reported location of the vessel was Tin Can Port in July 2011.
According to a statement released by the NNPCL, and signed by the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Garba Deen Muhammad, acting on credible intelligence, private security contractor Messrs. Tantita Security Services, engaged by NNPC Ltd., successfully apprehended the suspicious vessel on July 7, 2023. The vessel, owned by HOLAB MARITIME SERVICES LIMITED, a Nigerian registered company, was en route to Cameroon with the illicit cargo onboard when it was intercepted at an offshore location with coordinates Latitude: 5.8197194477543235° and Longitude: 4.789002723991871°. The Captain and Crew members were also apprehended.
Preliminary investigations conducted by NNPCL revealed that the crude oil cargo had been illegally sourced from an offshore well jacket located in Ondo State. No valid documentation for the vessel or the crude oil cargo was found at the time of the arrest, further supporting the conclusion that it was involved in illegal activities.
As a strong warning and deterrent to all those participating in such illegal activities, it was decided to destroy the vessel. The destruction of vessels involved in the transportation of stolen crude oil is deemed of paramount importance in curbing this illicit trade. Nigeria has been grappling with substantial economic losses, environmental devastation, and social instability caused by the illegal trade of stolen crude oil. NNPCL is determined to bring an end to this cycle of corruption and ensure the protection of the nation's oil resources.
Muhammad emphasized the corporation's commitment to sustaining the momentum in the fight against crude oil theft. The decision to destroy the vessel sends a strong message and serves as a clear warning to all those involved in such illegal activities to cease and desist.
Crude oil theft remains a significant challenge for Nigeria and the legitimate stakeholders in the oil industry. NNPCL, in collaboration with relevant authorities, continues to intensify its efforts to combat this menace and safeguard the country's oil resources.